It was a big day for several O'Rourke Middle School students who took first place in the Regional Future City Competition held Saturday, Jan. 13 at The Armory at Sage College in Albany.
The students, along with their teachers/advisors Katie Duell and Nick Morocco, competed against 30 teams (about 400 students) from 28 other schools in the Capital District competition. The first place win for BH-BL means the O'Rourke Middle School Future City team advances to the National competition in Washington, D.C., February 17-21, 2018, during Engineers Week. Good luck, Spartans!
"I'm incredibly proud of the entire Future City program and of the O'Rourke Middle School team for the amazing display of leadership, dedication, and teamwork that resulted in an innovative model and flawless performance," said BH-BL Supervisor of Technology Education David Collins. "Everyone did a terrific job today!"
Future City is a project-based learning program where students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future. The theme this year was: The Age-Friendly City. Long-held assumptions about aging are being radically redefined. Older adults are living longer, staying in the workplace longer, and living independently for longer than ever. The population is also growing and altering society’s overall demographics. By 2050, older adults will outnumber children under the age of 14. Using this as a catalyst, middle school students were asked to respond to the issue of The Age-Friendly City by designing innovative solutions that can serve an urban area’s older population. Students were tasked with identifying age-related issues in their city and to engineer a framework that enables seniors to remain active, independent, and engaged.
For the first time ever, the Albany-NY Region of the Future City program gave "Alumnus of the Year" college scholarships to two former Future City participants. Congratulations to BH-BL High School seniors Noah Wiederhold and Mary Hamilia for being the recipients of these scholarships.
Noah is a charter member of the first team from O'Rourke Middle School and has stayed active in the program by being a Future City Team Mentor. He is also a member of the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, and the NYS Mathematics Honor Society. He wrote in his essay that "Building the Sim City model perked my interest in gaming and virtual strategy. I have since become heavily involved in computer programming in high school and plan to pursue a career in computer science and information systems."
Mary is also a charter member of the first team from OMS and has stayed active in the program by being a mentor to students on Future City teams. Her goal is to become a biomedical engineer. She wrote in her essay: "The BH-BL team won first place the second year we had become a team. We then prepared for Nationals and travelled to Washington, D.C., which is an experience I will cherish forever. While we did not bring home any awards that year, but we placed in the top 15 and came home with our heads held high."
Both Noah and Mary received a $500 scholarship to assist with their college tuition, books, or living expenses.
Congratulations to this year's OMS Future City team and to Noah and Mary. It's a great day to be a Spartan!