LeAnn Skokan almost sets new record at NECC

Written May 21st, 2014

Northeast Community College drafting students Cody Schantz of Norfolk, (left), LeAnn Skokan of Verdigre, and Michael Holcomb, CAD/drafting instructor, watch as Skokan’s popsicle stick-built bridge collapses under the weight of 920 pounds. LeAnn’s bridge held 263 times its own weight in the annual competition, putting her second on the competition’s all-time list. (Courtesy Photo)

She knew she was running out time, but LeAnn Skokan plowed ahead and went for the record in Northeast Community College’s bridge building competition recently. Unfortunately, it took less than a second for gravity to destroy the project it took her hours to construct.

Skokan, a 2012 VHS graduate, was one of nine second year drafting students to take part in the annual competition, sponsored by the College’s drafting program. The event has grown to the point that it was moved from a drafting program classroom in the Maclay building to the nearly 300 seat Cox Activities Center Theatre on the Norfolk campus.

LeAnn’s popsicle stick and glue structure held 920 pounds, or 263 times its own weight, putting her second on the all-time list. Last year’s winner and record holder, Adam Krueger, was in the audience to witness the competition. His 2.5 pound bridge held 630 pounds, or 272 times its own weight.

Michael Holcomb and Harry Lindner, two of Northeast’s CAD/drafting instructors on the Norfolk campus, organize the annual competition. Holcomb said the students created blueprints for their bridges and then constructed them. “In this competition, we wanted to see if each of the student’s bridges could hold at least 50 times its weight. If they achieved that, they received an “A” on this project,” he said.

Each student was also allowed to use fish line in their structures, but interestingly just two of the bridges contained fish line along with the sticks and glue.
If the students choose to go the extra distance and not take their bridges home intact, they could go for the record, which they all attempted. Five students in this year’s competition made it on to the record list, which goes back four years. Records were not kept in the first four years of the annual competition.

In addition to Skokan, the four other competitors in this year’s competition who entered the Top 25 all-time list include Catherine Martinez of Norfolk who achieved the eleventh spot. Her bridge held 127 times its own weight. Zachary Turek, of Burwell is #17. His bridge held 103 times its own weight. Cody Schantz of Norfolk is #21. His bridge held 92 times its own weight. Devin Doering of Norfolk is #22. His bridge held 90 times its own weight.

Other competitors in this year’s competition included Bryce Attema, Shelby Hopkins, and Lisa Woehl, of Norfolk, and Albert Ponder of Atlanta, Georgia.
The Northeast Drafting program has two concentrations available to students. One is architectural drafting where students learn to design residential and commercial structures using two-dimensional and three-dimensional CAD (Computer Aided Design) software. The second concentration offered at the College Center in South Sioux City, by Instructor Danny Whitlock, is the industrial facility concentration. Students are trained to develop detailed working drawings for use in the manufacturing and industrial facilities.
LeAnn is the daughter of Frank and Theresa Skokan of Verdigre.

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