Normally, construction work is associated with big grunting men with 5 o’clock
shadow. But on January 12, five new faces crossed boundary lines and stepped
onto some unknown territory. These five girls conquered the odds, demolished
all stereotypes, and turned the construction scene upside down.
The International Construction Challenge is a new program associated with Destination Imagination. It is sponsored by over 50 companies such as Volvo Construction Equipment, John Deere, and Caterpillar Inc. On January 12, students competed in six rally competition sites across the country. The top 12 teams from each rally site advanced on to the final competition in Las Vegas on March 10-14. The lucky winners received this trip to Vegas –all expenses paid. Jenny Wajahn (sophomore), Jourdyn Heilinger (sophomore), Lindsay Wargelin (junior) Lauren Wargelin (senior), and Evin McMullen (Hawken, senior) make up one of the teams advancing on to finals.
The International Construction Challenge has three man parts: the infrastructure dialogue, mini road warrior, and product development. In the infrastructure dialogue, teams were given six questions about various types of infrastructure. After previously researching these questions they went head to head with another team and debated the new techniques they learned about.
Mini road warrior was a challenge designed to relate to real life construction jobs. Teams had limited time to build a bridge connecting four towns on the shores of a square lake with a rock island in the center. They had 20 gold coins to buy their various supplies (cardboard, linoleum, cardboard tubes, paper, etc.). For every coin not used the team received extra points. Once the time was up they had to move the bridge into another room and position in on the lake. Now they had to drive a remote control car from town A to town C, and town B to town D. The car and/or the bridge could not touch any part of the lake.
Prior to the competition, teams new nothing about the product development phase. At the rally they were given a box with various items such as small colored cubes, construction paper, foil, pipe cleaners, and many more. With these materials they had to create something that would inform middle school and high school students about working in the construction field. The girls designed a board game, much like the game LIFE, in which players moved along their “career path” and answered trivia questions about construction.
From the very beginning the girls turned heads. Being the only all girl team (the only girls for that matter), they were greatly under estimated. “I was surprised the women’s bathroom was even unlocked,” said team member Lauren Wargelin. It was a shock for everyone when the appraisers announced that they had won the infrastructure dialogue and product development phases of the challenge. After closing ceremonies, they were bombarded by boys who had under dogged them from the start. They proved everybody wrong, and hope to do so again at the finals in Las Vegas. Good Luck ladies!