Stronger together: collaboration a theme of 37th Annual Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest at OC

News March 9, 2020

Posted by Harrison Crerar

Stronger together: collaboration a theme of 37th Annual Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest at OC Featured Image

What’s true for spaghetti and hot glue is true for people as well – we’re stronger when we stick together.

In addition to coming away with new insights into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), participants of the 37th Annual Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest at Okanagan College also learned another important lesson in the value of collaboration.

More than 250 students from elementary through post-secondary flocked from all over the Okanagan to the College’s Kelowna campus on Friday to see whose spaghetti bridge would reign supreme.

Students had a chance to work in groups to build bridges on-site during the morning for the team-building competition, while others carefully transported elaborate pre-constructed spaghetti structures from as far away as Salmon Arm and Osoyoos.

The Dessert brothers of Lumby came out on top in the Heavyweight competition once again, marking the fourth year in a row one or more of the family has been in the top trio. It was Justin, a grade 11 student at Charles Bloom Secondary, whose bridge held the most – 237.44 kg – weighing in at 845.27 grams.

James, brother and a second-year student at the College who won last year’s competition came in second with his bridge holding 177.85 kg with a similar weight of 791.10 grams.

Sporting a healthy dose of sibling rivalry, Justin says, “Winning today means that I am able to take the lead from my brother again. We didn’t change anything this year but we kept the humidity more consistent, made sure to redo a couple of things right from scratch, and from the start made sure we were doing everything right.”

Not far behind James was Okanagan College alumnus Keyvan Khadem who captured third place. Khadem spent two years at the Kelowna campus completing the Civil Engineering technology bridge program and is now studying engineering at UBC’s Okanagan campus. His bridge, made alongside teammates Harvir Mann, Ahmed Ramadan and Gavin Saini, held 131.24 kg.

“For us, this is a combination of what we learn in lectures, learned previously here at the College and transferred to UBC Okanagan. Basically, we’re putting science into action here. Because of the quality of the spaghetti we work with, if you spread the build-out over more time, the pasta becomes brittle.

“Being here is like being part of an old family with a new family.”

“It was great to see the energy, excitement and positivity in the room. Whether their bridges worked out the way they wanted them to or not, every single competitor represented themselves and their schools so well. It was a joy to have everyone on campus, and we’re so grateful to all the students, teachers, volunteers and industry partners who make Spaghetti Bridge happen. Thank you!” said event organizer Michelle Lowry of the College’s Public Affairs department.

The event was made possible thanks to a variety of industry and community supporters including title sponsors, Faction Projects Inc. and Allnorth. Other sponsors for the contest include the Applied Science, Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia, PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc., the Okanagan College Students’ Union, Multi-Power Products, CTQ Consultants, Interior Testing Services and OPM (Okanagan Precision Machine Ltd.).

Complete Results


First – Justin Dessert (Charles Bloom Secondary, Lumby, B.C.)

Bridge weighed 845.27 g
Bridge held 237.44 kg

Second – Justin Dessert (Okanagan College, Kelowna, B.C.)

Bridge weighed 791.10 g
Bridge held 177.85 kg

Third – Keyvan Khadem, Harvir Mann, Ahmed Ramadan, Gavin Saini (UBC Okanagan, Kelowna, B.C.)

Bridge weighed 992.10 grams
Bridge held 131.24 kg

Secondary (lightweight)

First – Kiyoon Kim, Ty Sigvaldason, Kaytlynn New, Evan Vasarhely (Eagle River Secondary)

Second – Brody Pister and Camryn Pister (Southern Okanagan Secondary)

Third – Brooke Lachowski and Connor Schmitz (Eagle River Secondary)

Fourth – Josiah Peterson, Ben Stalker, Clayton Reay (King’s Christian School)

Fifth – Payton Kerr, David Chancellor, Haley Partridge (King’s Christian School)

Team Building Secondary

First – Hunter Milne, Joel Hrasko, Sam Cao, Joseph Sturgeon (Immaculata Regional High School)

Second – Sophia Grenier, Matt Hopley, Patrick Donovan, Eric Waller (Immaculata Regional High School)

Team Building Post-Secondary

First – Kyle Barker, Jordan Wapple (Okanagan College)

Second – James Schafer, Sarah Kelly, Lauren Biggs, Shea Krenzler (Okanagan College)

View and download high-resolution photos from the 37th Annual Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest on the College’s Flickr gallery here.

Watch the final moments of Justin Dessert’s winning spaghetti bridge here.

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