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Overland Park Students Win Future City Competition

Friday, February 3, 2006
2006 Great Plains Regional Future City Competition winning team Zenith

A team of eighth-graders from Westridge Middle School in Overland Park won the top honor at the 3rd Great Plains Regional Future City Competition Saturday, Jan. 28, at the University of Kansas.

Nearly 200 students in seventh and eighth grade from across the state and the Kansas City metropolitan area took part in the annual engineering competition.

"The creativity, ingenuity and hard work on display at the competition is a sign of the great results we can expect from all these students," said Robert Sorem, associate dean for undergraduate studies at the KU School of Engineering, which hosted this year's event. "All the contestants — not just the winners — should be proud of what they were able to accomplish. They did an amazing job."

The Future City Competition tests students' ability to design and build a city of the future. The winning team of David Blank, Leigha Empson and Emily Miller, led by teacher Vonda Morris, will now advance to the national competition, Feb. 20-22, in Washington, D.C. The event coincides with National Engineers Week.

Saturday's event at KU represented the final phase of the regional competition, which began shortly after the start of the academic year. More than 50 teams completed several different tasks as part of the Future City Competition. In addition to using the computer program SimCity 3000 to dream up a city of the future, students had to write an essay and an abstract, construct a physical model of their city using recycled materials and prepare a five- to seven- minute oral presentation to be delivered before two different panels of judges. The students were able to develop stronger interpersonal communication skills by working in teams to complete their projects and prepare their presentations.

The first-place team also was a favorite with the other students at the contest. The team's model city, which they named Zenith, won the Student Choice Award.

The students on the first-place team each won a $1,000 scholarship should they choose to study engineering at either the University of Kansas or Kansas State University. The win also benefits Westridge Middle School, which was awarded $500 from KU and K-State to further engineering and technology education.

The two universities also made contributions to support engineering education programs at schools of the other teams in the top five:

• Holy Trinity Catholic School; Lenexa, Kan.; 2nd place; $500

• Trailridge Middle School; Shawnee Mission, Kan.; 3rd place; $250

• West Junior High School; Lawrence, Kan.; 4th place; $250

• Oxford Middle School; Overland Park, Kan.; 5th place; $250

A variety of other awards recognizing excellence in a particular aspect of the competition also were presented during the awards ceremony at the regional contest. A list of award-winning teams, student members, schools, teachers and hometowns follows.

Nationwide, more than 30,000 students and 1,000 schools take part in the competition, which is sponsored by Engineers Week, a consortium of more than 100 engineering societies and corporations. For more information about this year's event or to find out about participating in next year's competition, contact Great Plains Regional coordinator C.W. Harper, or call 785-393-9139. Information about the national competition also is available at www.futurecity.org.

Future City Finalists and Award Winners

Top Finishers

1st place:

Westridge Middle School, Overland Park, KS; team Zenith; team members David Blank, Leigha Empson, and Emily Miller; teacher Vonda Morris

2nd place:

Holy Trinity Catholic School, Lenexa, KS; team Genesis; team members Ann Sizemore, Lindsey Mayfield, Julia Griffin, and Nick Loughman; teacher Randy Weber

3rd place:

Trailridge Middle School, Shawnee Mission, KS; team Expono Abs; team members Anthony Frook, Ben Schmitt, and Jacob Lindenlaub; teacher Virginia Hammes

4th place:

West Junior High School, Lawrence, KS; team Gronnevedsjoen; team members Dylan Guthrie, Dravid Joseph, and Sam Walter; teacher Joan Parr

5th place:

Oxford Middle School, Overland Park, KS; team Walvissen; team members Chris Ouyang, Sam Gard, and Ryan Graham; teacher Helen Hardgree.

Special Awards

Camelot Award

Oxford Middle School, Overland Park, KS; team Sayiqan Ami; team members Megan Gahliger, Amanda Sevcik, Jenny Beesley; teacher Helen Hardgree

Charles Hagen Award,

School of the Magdalen, Wichita, KS; team Yorky; team members Bethany Hermreck, Andrew Blick, Angie Zandt; teacher Kelly Dandurand

Christy & Cronin Award,

West Junior High School, Lawrence, KS, team Gronnevedsjoen; team members Dylan Guthrie, Dravid Joseph, Sam Walter: teacher Joan Parr

Dean's Choice Award,

Westridge Middle School, Overland Park, KS; team Ville Royale; team members Canaan Coker, Andrew Franchett, Mary Lipp; teacher Vonda Morris

Eisenhower Award,

Westridge Middle School, Overland Park, KS; team Nautilus; team members Michael Atchley, Kaitlin Beeman , Austin St. John; teacher Vonda Morris

Ernest Howard Award,

Dodge City Middle School, Dodge City, KS; team Sunshine; Ashley Ontiberos, Erica Alarcon; teacher Mary Schneiders

Frank Lloyd Wright Award,

Westridge Middle School, Overland Park, KS; team Torsion Francaise; team members Brooke Benson, Sally Carmichael, Russell Shuttleworth; teacher Vonda Morris

Garrett A. Morgan Award,

Westridge Middle School, Overland Park, KS; team Kailani; team members Helen Paolo, Jessica Sutter, Victor Zaharopoulos; teacher Vonda Morris

Lubliner Barrett Award,

Resurrection Catholic School, Wichita, KS; team Divine; team members Ellen Bergkamp, Jackie Piszczek, Kellie Graham; teacher Kathy Kelly

Mother Earth Award,

Dodge City Middle School, Dodge City, KS; team Democritus City; team members Claudia Baca, Brad Roetzer, Justin Dewell; teacher Mary Schneiders

Outside the Box Award,

Our Lady of Peace School, Kansas City, MO; team Azarocka; team members Kara Feuerborm, Adam Farnow, Rebecca Moore, Zac Cooper; teacher Joseph Peterson

Penny Pincher Award,

Trailridge Middle School, Shawnee Mission, KS; team BetDonCeon; team members Brett Lightle, Cameron Weekly, Dylan Swoyer; teacher Virginia Hammes

Student Choice Award,

Westridge Middle School, Overland Park, KS; team Zenith; team members David Blank, Leigha Empson, Emily Miller; teacher Vonda Morris

University Award,

Holy Trinity Catholic School, Lenexa, KS; team Genesis; team members Ann Sizemore, Lindsey Mayfield, Julia Griffin, Nick Loughman; teacher Randy Weber

Vincent Bowlen Award,

Overland Trail Middle School, Overland Park, KS; team Lake Paradise; team members Kyle Davis, Jason Hoffman, Cole Elliott; teacher Paula Nordstrom



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