Southwest Middle School earns fifth place at national Future City competition

Abdullah Ahmed, an eighth-grader at Southwest Middle School, explains the layout of a re-imagined Jakarta he helped build as part of his school's eighth-grade Future City team, on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017.

Southwest Middle School’s eighth-grade Future City team recently took home the fifth-place prize at the national Future City competition in Washington, D.C.

The Southwest team, guided by co-coaches Danielle Lotton-Barker and Jamie Shaw, competed against 42 teams from across the country at last month’s contest, which took place Feb. 17-21. The project-based competition encourages middle schoolers nationwide to “imagine, research, design and build cities of the future,” the challenge for this year’s competition being “The Power of Public Space.”

As part of Southwest’s fifth-place win, the school’s team will receive $750 from Ohio University and the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. The students also nabbed a special award, “Protecting the Public’s Safety and Welfare Through Competent and Ethical Engineering Practices,” which comes with a $300 check from the National Society of Professional Engineers. The award is meant to honor students who thoroughly explain “what it is about their city that ensures the health, safety and welfare of its residents and what specifically will guarantee for them an improved quality of life.”

Southwest’s city, a re-imagined Jakarta, Indonesia, called “Teratai,” earned the team first place at the regional Future City competition in January. Highlights of the D.C. trip included a visit to Indonesia’s embassy, where students interacted with several Indonesian officials, Lotton-Barker said.