Bridge builders share honor with friends

Peiru Lu, reporter

McKinley High School juniors Annie Liang and Hing Yee Wong think hard work was the key to their success in bridge building. Wong (first place) and Annie Liang (second place) won the bridge building contest at the 2011 Hawaii Physics Olympics & Regional Bridge Building Competition.

The event was sponsored by the Hawaii chapter of the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Kapiolani Community College Engineering Club, and the UH Manoa chapter of the Society of Physics Students. They were the only two students from Hawaii invited to attend the 34th International Bridge Building Contest hosted by The Illinois Institute of Technology on April 30. Wong represented the two builders in Chicago, where she placed 47th and Liang placed 37th.

Jossefin Rasay, Liang and Wong’s physics teacher, said, “The purpose of the project is to experience hands-on engineering work by applying physics concepts.”

The girls said they needed to work and spend a lot of time, especially on preparation. When they built up the bridge, they had to measure the length, width and height carefully until they got it correct.

Alvin Nip, a teacher who helped the students, agreed that building up the bridge took much time and hard work.

He said, “First they needed to do research to get some design ideas, and look up data as to which design could carry the most weight then drew and build a bridge following the rules and specifications for the 2011 International Bridge Building Contest.”

Liang, Wong and their other friend worked to design and build up their own bridges. They worked in Nip’s classroom many hours during the winter break. Liang and Wong see the contest is not only for winning prizes but also about prolonging friendships. Liang said they and their friends helped others during the KCC competition.

Liang said, “We all worked together like classmates. We all helped each other, all of us. I was very proud of the teamwork we had. “

Wong said, “When we worked for the KCC competition, we also had some other friends competing with us. We all worked together.”

Liang said, “I really don’t mind (if my friends win the contest). If they do, I’ll be very happy for them. I learned that friends are big help.”

Liang went on, “This contest really improved friendship between us and our friends, because we stayed late together and worked. It shows a lot of teamwork we have.”

They were grateful for the help from their teachers. They said they would like to thank Rasay for giving them the opportunity to take part in the contest and Nip for spending the time to help them and let them use his room.

Students interested in joining the Hawaii Physics Olympics & Regional Bridge Building Competition can visit for contest information.