Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly (from left), Catholic Memorial President Donna Bembenek and CMH STEM teacher Mary Petrie, who has organized the STEM Challenge for middle schoolers since it began nine years ago. (Submitted photo)

Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha hosted the 2023 STEM Challenge for more than 300 middle school students Feb. 28.

The middle school students came from 25 private and public schools from throughout Waukesha and Milwaukee counties to participate in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities. The students experienced the hands-on creativity, innovation and collaboration of Catholic Memorial’s STEM program. The school’s ninth year of hosting the STEM Challenge brought a record turnout.

Visiting students were divided into more than 80 small groups, mentored by Catholic Memorial students, and tasked with designing and building a bridge structure. Every group was taught Memorial Propel, CMH’s trademarked design thinking process.

In a competition that followed, each group’s bridge was tested for balance, creativity and how much weight it could support. The winning team, from St. Anthony on the Lake Catholic School, Pewaukee, created a bridge that supported 17.816 pounds.

The winning team from St. Anthony on the Lake Catholic School, Pewaukee, looks on as weight is added to test their bridge structure.