Westerville Middle School Students Excel at Future City Competition


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On Saturday, January 14, seventh and eighth grade students from Blendon, Heritage, and Walnut Springs competed against a number of middle schools from Ohio in the State DiscoverE’s Future City Competition, held at Columbus State Community College.  

The contest consists of several components.  Teams wrote an essay on the topic of “The Power of Public Spaces.”  Public spaces have the capacity to revitalize a city’s economy by introducing new businesses and bringing in new visitors.  They can also help reduce crime, ease traffic congestion, improve pedestrian safety, promote healthy living, improve the environment, and enhance civic engagement.  A recent study by the UN-Habitat’s Global Urban Observatories Unit found that cities that devoted about 50% of their space to public use tended to be more prosperous and have a higher quality of life, so students were challenged to envision urban spaces of tomorrow.  In addition to the essay, pupils completed a computer component using SimCity software, created an engineering project plan, built a scale model of their city of the future using mostly recycled materials, and prepared a presentation to share their city highlights at the state competition.

The Blendon presenting team was comprised of students Ethan Stofel, Tyler Zwick, and Sammi Robinson, under the guidance of 7th grade science teacher Patrick Schubert and gifted facilitator Lisa Huelskamp, with engineer Ben Schilling from American Structurepoint.  They received an honorable mention for Best Innovative Solutions for Water and Wastewater Utilities to Reduce Costly Reinvestment in America’s Aging Infrastructure and first place for Best Land Surveying Practices.

The Heritage presenting team consisted of students Colin Brame, Nick Lovell, and Kimberlee Welch, guided by gifted facilitator Debbie Pellington and media specialist Kris Konik, plus engineer Erik McPeek from the Delaware County Regional Sewer District.  They took first place for Best Essay, and Honorable Mentions for Best Architectural Model and Best Use of Transportation. The Heritage team also took 4th place in the state.

The Walnut Springs presenting team included students Andilyn McCallum, Katie Baker, and Evan Kienle, guided by 8th grade science teacher John McCoy and gifted facilitator Lisa Huelskamp, along with engineer Justin Smucker from S9 Construction.  They took first place for Best Use of Water Resources Engineering.

The Future City Competition is a national, not-for-profit education program, with more than 40,000 students from 1,350 middle schools typically participating.  Learn more at www.futurecity.org.