Students build bridges in annual project

There were a lot of bridges outside Shades Cahaba Elementary Wednesday morning. Fifth graders showcased their toothpick bridges during the school's annual engineering project.

For nearly a month, professionals from Davis Architects in Birmingham have guided the students through the process. Homewood Mayor Scott McBrayer and educators judged the bridges on design, creativity and strength. The top teams won $100 to donate to their favorite charities.

"We worked really hard on our bridge and we put a lot of work into it," Student Ellie Gray says. "We had a really different design from everybody else and it's a really strong bridge."

Additionally, the Character Education Partnership (CEP) has named Shades Cahaba Elementary school as a 2012 National School of Character (NSOC).{} Shades Cahaba is one of 24 schools and one school district being recognized nationwide in 2012.