St. John Lutheran of Rochester wins Michigan Future City regional

NOVI — A team from St. John Lutheran School in Rochester won the 2020 Michigan Regional Competition of Future City, the science and engineering event for middle school students.

In the competition, hosted by The Engineering Society of Detroit, teams of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders design a city set at least 100 years in the future. The cities must be organized around a central principle that changes every year to keep the competition fresh.

In the 2019-20 competition, the theme was “Clean Water: Tap Into Tomorrow.” Teams were asked to design their city around an advanced water management system that would stand up to engineering challenges like climate change and natural disasters.

By winning the Michigan Regional, the St. John Lutheran team earns the right to compete in the national Future City competition, being held in Washington, D.C. Feb. 14-19 as part of National Engineers Week. The winner of the national competition receives an all-expenses-paid trip to Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Future City is a cross-curricular educational program where middle school students imagine, design, and build cities of the future. Over four months, students work as a team with an educator and volunteer engineer mentor to design a virtual city using SimCity software; research and write an essay addressing this year’s theme; build a model of their city using recycled materials on a budget of no more than $100; complete a project plan; and present their city before a panel of judges at regional competitions across the country in January. Regional winners go on to represent their region at the national competition.

Winning second place was Trinity Lutheran School of Utica. Third place went to St. Valentine Catholic School of Redford Township. Fourth place went to Navigator Upper Elementary School, part of the Pinckney Public Schools. Fifth place was earned by Michigan Islamic Academy of Ann Arbor.

More about Future City, including how teams can compete in 2021, at

St. John Lutheran is a veteran of state and national championships in Future City. The school won an unprecedented six straight state championships from 2011 to 2016, and was back-to-back national champion in 2014 and 2015. St. John also won the state championship in 2018 and 2019. St. Valentine was the state champion in 2017.

Presenting sponsors of Future City are the DTE Energy Foundation and the Ford Motor Co. Fund.

The competition also presents sponsored special awards covering specific areas of engineering, city planning, and more. Those winners were:

* Architectural Engineeirng of an Integrated, High Performing City, presented by Lawrence Technological University: University Prep Math & Science Middle School, Team 2, Detroit

* ASQ Quality Improvement Award, sponsored by the American Society for Quality, Greater Detroit Section 1000: St. John Lutheran School

* Best City for People with Disabilities, sponsored by the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America: Michigan Islamic Academy

* Best Communication System, sponsored by the Society of Women Engineers, Detroit Professional Section: St. Valentine Catholic School

* Best Engineered Project, sponsored by NTH Consultants Ltd.: Trinity Lutheran School

* Best Futuristic Transportation, sponsored by DENSO International America Inc.: DeWitt Middle School, Team 3, DeWitt

* Best Land Surveying Practices, sponsored by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying: Innocademy Team 3, Zeeland

* Best Use of Alternative or Renewable Fuels, sponsored by Durr Systems Inc.: St. Valentine Catholic School

* Best Use of Energy, sponsored by the DTE Energy Foundation: Central Middle School, Port Huron

* Best Use of Green Principles, sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council, Detroit Regional Chapter, Green Schools Committee: Comstock STEM Academy, Kalamazoo

* Best Use of Materials, sponsored by ASM International, Detroit Chapter: Pathfinder School, Pinckney

* Best Waste Management and Recycling, sponsored by the East Michigan Chapter of the Air and Waste Management Association and Waste Management Inc.: Navigator Upper Elementary School

* Building a World of Difference, sponsored by Black and Veach: Trinity Lutheran School

* Building with the American Spirit: People, Projects, and Communities, sponsored by Barton Malow Co.: University Prep Math & Science Middle School, Team 1, Detroit

* Electrotechnology award, sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Southeast Michigan Chapter: DeWitt Middle School, Team 1

* Herbert W. Link Visionary Award, sponsored by Link Engineering Co.: Brownell Middle School, Grosse Pointe Farms

* Incorporation of Plastic Materials, sponsored by Society of Plastics Engineers, Detroit Section: Defer Elementary School, Grosse Pointe Park

* Innovative Sustainability Award, sponsored by the University of Detroit Mercy: DeWitt Middle School, Team 3

* Most Healthy Community, sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Care Network of Michigan: International Technology Academy, Pontiac

* Most Sustainable Food Production, sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers: Pierce Middle School, Grosse Pointe Park

* Most Youthful and Architecturally Pleasing City, sponsored by the Michigan Architectural Foundation and the Optimist Club of Downtown Detroit: Light of the World Academy, Team 1, Pinckney

* People’s Choice Award, sponsored by the Ford Motor Co. Fund: International Technology Academy

* Sustaining Our Future, sponsored by Golder Associates Inc.: Geisler Middle School, Walled Lake

* Most Team Spirit, sponsored by Hartland Insurance Group Inc.: Sarah Banks Middle School Team 2, Wixom

* Rookie Team of the Year, sponsored by The Engineering Society of Detroit: Light of the World Academy, Team 1


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