Lincoln-Way Regional bridge competitors honored at engineering banquet
Thursday, March 1, 2018

On Friday, February 23, winners from the Chicago 2018 Regional Bridge Contest were honored at the Chicagoland National Engineers Week Banquet at the Robert E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. The banquet recognized twelve total students from the Chicagoland area, three of which are from Lincoln-Way District 210.

Hunter Sakiewicz of Lincoln-Way East, Jack Taylor of Lincoln-Way West and Spencer Martin of Lincoln-Way East came in second, third and fourth place respectively for the Southern Suburban division. In order to compete in the Regional competition, students must place in the top four at the high school level. Sakiewicz, Taylor and Martin each competed with hundreds of other Griffins and Warriors before earning the chance to participate at the regional level.

Senior Jack Taylor, who placed third in the Southern Suburban conference, initially became interested in bridge building after finishing an Eagle Scout Project in the summer of 2017. He and other scouts from Troop 12 helped construct a foot bridge across a creek on the grounds of United Methodist Church in New Lenox. “His father is a farmer, so Jack has always been good with tools and creating things,” says Taylor’s mother, Colleen.

Despite the tips he could have received from his experienced father, Taylor designed and constructed the bridge completely independently. “I really enjoyed taking the time to plan out my design and drafting it,” says Taylor. “I went through draft after draft, altering my design after each test…However, I wish I would’ve had more time to work on my bridges as I had a lot going on during the competition.”

Although Taylor wished he had more time, most would deem his bridge extremely successful; the bridge carried 2,877 times its own weight, earning him third place in the Southern Suburban division and third overall in Chicagoland. While the competition was exciting, the design process seemed to produce calming effects on some of the contestants. “It was very relaxing to just sit down and build each bridge. I always enjoy woodworking,” Taylor says.

Taylor plans to join the Army after graduation, “which has been his passion for a long time,” says his mother Colleen. After the Army, he aspires to attend Purdue University and major in engineering.

“Being at the Banquet with distinguished engineers and award winners from around the Chicago area, was awe inspiring!” says Colleen. “And I thought to myself, ‘My son is a part of this.’ To say I was proud would be an understatement. I’m excited to see what Jack’s future holds!”