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Apr 21, 2018
Charlton Heights Elementary SchoolPashley Elementary SchoolStevens Elementary SchoolO'Rourke Middle SchoolBH-BL High School

District NEWS

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January 13, 2014
O’Rourke Middle School students take first place in Future City Competition Regional Finals

Students move on to National Competition in Washington, D.C.

Competing against more than 19 teams from over a dozen different school districts, O’Rourke Middle School students took first place in the Future City Competition Regional Finals with their presentation of "Transparta"--their virtual city they envisioned, designed and constructed using SimCity software.

“I’m so excited that last year's ‘Rookie team of the year’ has impressively improved and became the new Regional Champions,” said advisor and BH-BL teacher Katie Duell.

Each team is led by an educator and engineer mentor who provides the student team with the basics of city planning and management as they design a virtual city using SimCity software. The students conduct research and write an essay on their citywide issue. They are to review the transportation options and needs of their city, create viable ideas that consider safety, accessibility, intermodality and sustainability in an effort to reimagine a better and more efficient city. Students then built a physical model of their city using recycled materials that cost no more than $100.

O’Rourke Middle School will be one of 37 teams in the nation to move on to the Future City Competition National Finals in Washington, D.C. from February 15 through 18, which also is Engineers’ Week.

In addition to earning first place regionally, BH-BL students also won three other awards: The Most Innovative Transportation Design Award (the engineering problem teams had to solve), the Most Innovative Design/Construction Approach to Achieving Environmental Sustainability Award and the First Place Capital District Engineers’ Week Award.

“Earning four awards is so incredible,” says Duell. “I can’t even begin to express how proud I am of our students for all the hard work they did and the professionalism they demonstrated when presenting their virtual city.”

Future City has received national attention and acclaim for its role in encouraging middle schoolers to develop their interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The annual challenge is one of the nation’s leading engineering education programs and among the most popular.

More information on the Future City Competition is available at

Congratulations and good luck in February to all of the students and volunteers:

Student Presenters: Mary Hamilla, Rachel Johnson and Andrew Rudolf

Team members for the SimCity Model, Research Essay, City Narrative, and City Model Construction:
Noah Wiederhold, Jayson Cote, Jason Kanuck, Gene Mongan, Drew Christensen, Patrick Molluso, Anna LeClair, Lela Ormsby, Jake Tashman-Tomek, Sam Semon, Patrick Mongan, Winston Clapper, Miles Grabb and Ben Rzeszsotarski

Engineer Mentors: Jen Wiederhold and Erik LeClair

Parent Liaison: Marie Hamilla