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A team of students from Scott Highlands Middle School finished runner-up and won a special award at the Future City Minnesota regional competition Jan. 21 at Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis. Four other District 196 middle school teams also won special awards at this year’s competition, which marks the 25th anniversary of Future City. This year’s theme was The Power of Public Space.

Sponsored by the National Engineers Week Foundation, Future City is a national, project-based learning experience where middle school students imagine, design and build cities of the future. Students work as a team with a teacher and engineer mentor to plan cities using SimCity” software; research and write solutions to an engineering problem; build tabletop scale models with recycled materials, and present their ideas before judges at a regional competition. Regional winners represent their region at the national finals held in Washington, D.C. each February.

The Étoile team from Scott Highlands finished in second place overall and won a special award for Most Environmentally Friendly Power Source, given to the team that designs an outstanding system to deliver power to a community in an environmentally-friendly way. Members of the team are Nicholas Adelmann, Vikash Giritharan, Shanmukha Kotaru, Ritisha Senapati, Ian Young and Grady Jacobson.

The Nitor team from Scott Highlands won the award for Best Virtual City, given to the team that creates the best virtual city using the computer simulation game SimCity4 Deluxe. Team members are Bianca Dargis, Henry Johnson, Hudson Labno, Josephine Nutting, Rhea Rajvansh, Sullivan Labno and Kyle Nelson. Teacher Theresa Back is the advisor for both teams from Scott Highlands and 3M Engineer Jim Kotsmith is their mentor.

The Aquaeta team from Valley Middle School of STEM finished in fifth place overall and earned the Student Choice Award, given to the team selected by students at the regional finals. Members of the team are Marissa Loppnow, Cassandra Loppnow, Morgan Gallagher, Martin Brean and Kyle Olson. Teacher Sheri Gedlinske is the team advisor and mentors are engineers Brandon Anderson of the City of Apple Valley and Krista Anderson of WSB.

Team Basabillion, representing Black Hawk Middle School, won the Building Quality Communities Award, given to the team that demonstrates how a city government can improve the quality of life for its citizens. Members of the team are Olivia Noll, Braeden Puzder, Kayli Breen, Sophia Trac, Shelley Trac, Kalina Montesinos, Gayathri Gajjela, August Krahn, Benjamin Rieffer, Alexandra Eernisse, Laura Breed and Shreya Takkella. Teacher David Herem is the team advisor and Engineer Russ Matthys of the City of Eagan is their mentor.

The Techtopia team from Rosemount Middle School won the Best Land Surveying Practices Award, which recognizes the design that employs the best land surveying practices, taking into consideration the high standards used by surveyors to help protect the public’s safety and welfare. Members of the team are Ryan Leska, Olivia Dalton, Summer Jensen and Jacob Zabel. Teachers Andrew Preston and Alyssa Simmers are advisors and mentors are engineers Steve VanderWiel of IBM and Will Grunewald.

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