St. Clair Junior High School seventh- and eighth-grade teams placed in a statewide competition earlier this month for their work in creating futuristic cities.

A seventh-grade team and an eighth-grade in the gifted education program participated in the Future City-Missouri competition at Missouri S&T Jan. 13.

Each team presented their project to an audience of students, teachers and engineers. The seventh-grade team placed second and eighth-grade team placed first in the competition, according to Gifted Education teacher Jennifer Hawkins.

“This is the first year that the competition allowed us to have two teams from the same school competing in the final round, so I was excited to find out both St. Clair teams were able to advance,” she told The Missourian.

“It was priceless seeing the excitement on their faces when their team names were announced.”

The eighth-grade team will represent Missouri and the St. Clair R-XIII School District at the National Future City Competition in Washington, D.C., Feb. 17-21.

“This will be a great opportunity for my eighth-grade team. Besides sharing their solution with their academic peers and engineers, they will have the chance to explore national museums, memorials and monuments,” Hawkins said.

“This is also a great opportunity for my students to make business connections and friends from around the world.”

According to Hawkins, this was the first time in more than 10 years that the Future City Competition was in Missouri.

Previously, the regional competitions took place in Great Plains or Chicago. This is the fourth time St. Clair students have qualified for the national competition, according to Hawkins.

Seventh-Grade Team

The seventh-grade team’s future city location was Glacier Falls in Iceland. Their goal was to help senior citizens become more independent. The two solutions were the Senior Cooperative Living (SCL) and the Automatic Medicine Dispenser (AMD).

“My favorite part of the competition was designing the actual city because it helped me to bring what I had in my mind into the real world,” student Jace Downey told The Missourian.

Student Bella Shelden said her favorite part was presenting and answering the judges’ questions.

“It helped me to challenge myself to think on the spot while trying to sound professional,” Shelden said.

The team members included Shelden, Alexus Cox, Tara Bendler, Paris Perkins, Ava Brand, Brandon Barns, Downey, Josh Eichholz and Madi Baxter.

Eighth-Grade Team

The eighth-grade team’s future city location was Usia Ramah located in Indonesia. Their goal was to help the elderly with mobility. Their solution was creating micro bionic exoskeletons and mobile sidewalks.

“My favorite part of the competition was building the model because I love creating things,” student Jack Luxton said.

Student Steven Conner said he liked see other teams’ cities at the competition and that he “liked the feeling of having all our hard work pay off.”

Upon winning first place, student Cora Reed said she and her teammates were excited.

“Cecilia, Maddy, and I cried,” she said.

The team members included Maddy Hogan, Cecilia Vanness, Reed, Jack Luxton and Conner.

About the Competition

Future City is a project-based learning program where middle school students imagine, research, design and build cities of the future.

The Future City Competition consists of five deliverables. Teams are judged and scored on the following:

Virtual city: Students design a virtual city using SimCity software and present their city’s progress via a slide-show presentation.

City essay: Students must write a 1,500-word essay describing the unique attributes of their city and their solution to this year’s challenge. In addition, they must identify an issue that senior citizens have and engineer two innovative solutions so the citizens can remain active and independent.

City model: Students must build a scale model of a section of their city using recycled materials, including at least one moving part. It is presented at the regional competition.

City presentation: Students must give a seven-minute presentation discussing features of their future city and their solution to the citywide challenge.

The presentation is followed by a five to eight minute question and answer period from the judges.

Project plan: Students must work with their team to complete a project plan to help them stay organized and focused with the Future City project.

Heading to D.C.

Each team that wins their regional competition advances to finals.

The Finals City provides round-trip transportation and hotel accommodations for each team’s three student presenters, educator and mentor.

The competition will take place during Engineers Week, Feb. 17-21. While in Washington, D.C., team members have the opportunity to tour D.C., visit the National Mall, monuments and memorials, the Capitol, and the White House.

Teams also can win prizes. The first place team wins a trip to space camp and $7,500. For more information about Future City, visit