Contact: Rene Abadie
Date: January 31, 2013
FUTURE CITY WINNERS – The middle school team from St. Thomas More Catholic School in Baton Rouge took top honors at the Future City competition held recently at Southeastern Louisiana University. From left are: Mike Alvarez of Shell Oil Company's Houston office, teacher adviser Shirley Newman, engineer mentor William Johnson, students Gabby Bella, Whitney Moore, Laura Kaiser, Josh Brooks, and Christopher Alumbaugh, and Southeastern Professor of Computer Science Cris Koutsougeras, program coordinator.
HAMMOND – For the second consecutive year, a team of middle school students from St. Thomas
More Catholic School in Baton Rouge took the top award at the state's Future City
competition held Jan. 19 at Southeastern Louisiana University.
Future City pits middle school and organizational teams in a competition that involves the design of a virtual city using SimCity4 Deluxe software that is donated to the participating teams. The students are also required to write a research essay on their project and build a physical model using recycled materials.
The St. Thomas More team also received the "Most Holistic City Award" and $100 from the engineering firm CH2M-HILL. As winners of the Southeastern event, which encompassed five participating entries from Louisiana and Mississippi, the St. Thomas More team will go to the national finals in Crystal City, Va., in February.
Second place honors and a $100 award from NCEES as the best land surveyor demonstration were presented to Episcopal High School of Baton Rouge; third place was awarded to Boy Scout Troop 103 – Cobra Patrol of Baton Rouge.
The St. Thomas More team included students Christopher Alumbaugh, Gabriella Bella, Whitney Moore, Josh Brooks, Laura Kaiser, Reilly Helm and Tiffany Pharm. Shirley Newman served as the teacher adviser, while engineer William Johnson of Jacobs Engineering in Baton Rouge was the engineer mentor.
"This event serves as a great opportunity for young students to work together as a team in a competition that involves science and technology," said Cris Koutsougeras, Southeastern professor of computer science and coordinator of the competition. "With emphasis on environmental awareness and ecology, Future City helps students understand the roles that science and engineering can bring to solving problems. It is a tremendous learning opportunity for these young participants."
"Competitions like this help to develop awareness and interest in science, technology, and engineering among middle school students," said Mike Alvarez of Shell Oil Company's Houston office, a sponsor of the event. "As a company that hires many people in the technological fields, we're interested in supporting opportunities like this that reach students early."
Other sponsors of the event included the National Engineering Week Foundation, CH2M-Hill Engineering and NCEES, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing professional licensure for engineers and surveyors.