Pacific Middle School Students Do Well in State ‘Future City’ Competition


Expo Town Team, from left to right: Kokoro Terukina, Amber Thatcher, Austin Beardemphl. Click photo to see larger version.


Teams of students from Pacific Middle School – located in Des Moines – won second, third, and fourth place at the Washington State Future City regional competition in January.

Three other teams from the school also placed, out of a field of 22 teams from around the state. Team names, members, and placement are:

  • Olympic City, second place, Matthew Garrido, Elliott Plourde, and Thomas Swanson
  • Utopia, third place, Alex Kanemasu, Truman Ponder-Bader, and Tristan Neathery
  • Cloud 9, fourth place, Sam Johnson, Nick Hanley, and Colin Meyers
  • Time Cruisers, fifth place, Anders Hunt, Trey Hunt, and Jacob Sylvester
  • Expo Town, fourteenth place, Austin Beardemphl, Kokoro Terukina, and Amber Thatcher
  • Xenon, fifteenth place, Emily Ding, Veronica Soran, and Umi Terukina

“Our teams really took a huge step forward this year,” said Sandy Gady, Design and Engineering teacher at the school. “All of their models and essays were exemplary, their presentations were well thought out, and they all looked like professionals. Any one of the teams could have made it to the finals and represented us well.”

Future City is a national competition that builds student skills in applied science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as well as research, writing, and presentation. Middle school students compete in teams of three through four phases. They use SimCity 4 Deluxe software to create their futuristic city, identifying basic services and features, zoning, and city infrastructures; write essays; construct a physical model; and present as a team in front of a panel of judges.

Community members contributed to the success of the teams. Peter Sturtevant of CH2MHill was the engineer mentor, and Councilwoman Melissa Musser and Des Moines City Manager Tony Piasecki explained to the students how city governments work, plan, and make decisions.

All models will be on display at Pacific Middle School during Science Night on March 6.

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