Eight St. Clair Junior High School eighth-graders continued the R-XIII school district’s tradition of faring well at the 2013 Chicago Regional Future City competition by placing third overall last weekend with their presentation, “Ciudad de Agua Pura.”

Future Cities is a nationwide competition that starts with students creating cities on classroom computers using Sim City software. From that blueprint, they build a three-dimensional table model to scale, create a problem for the city and then solve it.

At the regional competition, students presented and defended their designs in front of a panel of judges, who tested the depth of the team’s knowledge. Students also wrote an essay describing their city.

“I’m very proud of my students,” R-XIII gifted education teacher Jennifer Hawkins said. “The Future City competition gives students knowledge about engineering fields and requires them to creatively solve problems that we may encounter in the future.

“They amaze me every year.”

The group’s “City of Pure Water” is located at the border of Argentina and Brazil 120 miles southeast of the Iguazu Falls, where the Iguazu and Uruguai rivers meet. The essay describes the future city and how the nearby large river basin supplies water to five South American countries.

The Rio de la Plata basin supplies 85 percent of Argentina’s water resources and made the list of most polluted waterways in the world as of 2012. A main source of the pollution was because of factory runoff.

The essay focused on how the waterway was cleaned and how the city became “the pride and joy of South America.”

In the year 2056, the Rio de la Plata “gained the attention of the Natural Resources Defense Council” and “focused the worldwide media on this sparsely populated area.”

The city was founded by cleanup volunteers who never left the area, the essay states, and “it continues to prosper as a popular site for tourists.”

“The Future City competition teaches students to rely on each other and work as a team,” Hawkins said. “Because of the diverse talents needed for this competition, each student had the opportunity to shine.”

Students involved in the project were Rileigh Cassimatis, Josh Dierking, Cassie Durbin, Kate Feddersen, Emily Hansel, Allana Kordonowy, Nissa Krier and Christopher North. Feddersen, Hansel and North were the presenters in Chicago.

Along with their third-place overall finish, the local eighth-graders won three individual awards — best virtual city, best city promotion and the peer award.

St. Clair also sent a seventh-grade team to Chicago, and it won the “most inclusive community promoting worklife balance” award.

Its city was called “New Citarum” was located in Indonesia. The group’s essay stated that the city was a wasteland as 13 rivers running into the bay where it was located were polluted. It continued by explaining how cleanup efforts were performed.

Those team members are Amanda Baumrul, Breanna Pruitt, Nathan Sanders, Chloe Sinklear and Jonah Thurman. Presenters were Baumruk, Pruitt and Thurman.

Success is nothing new to SCJHS students in this competition, however. In each of the last two years, 2012 and 2011, St. Clair R-XIII finished first at Chicago and qualified for the national competition in the process. In 2010, a team finished second while in 2009, the first year St. Clair competed, a group ended up fourth.

Three of this year’s eighth-graders were on the winning team a year ago. Cassimatis, Hansel and North were part of the “Bondigag Cove” presentation that took top honors.