OPA takes third at ‘Future City’

William Duncan, Karina Morris and Olivia Kirsch present the Olympic Peninsula Academy’s “Future City” model at the final round of the Northwest regional competition in Seattle on Saturday, Jan. 23. Submitted photo

A “Future City” designed and modeled by students from the Olympic Peninsula Academy took third place in the Northwest regional competition in Seattle on Saturday, Jan. 23.

The Future City competition is a national program sponsored by engineering societies to promote interest in technology and engineering for middle school students.

The student team from Sequim completed the four-phase contest with a computer design, scale model, essay and verbal presentation of their city, New Plymouth, New Zealand, as it would operate in the year 2222.

In addition to the third-place award, Sequim’s scale model took the “People’s Choice” award voted by all of the regional contestants at the event.

Student presenters Karina Morris, Olivia Kirsch and William Duncan faced three panels of judges at the event to answer questions about transportation, power sources, the city’s government and economy. This year’s theme for the competition was affordable housing.

When asked where they would choose to live in their model, Morris said, “I would choose the neighborhoods with community gardens, where we can get fresh produce and walk to school or work.”

The presenters were part of a group of 12 students that worked as a team.

“We all brainstormed ideas for our city and worked together on the model,” Kirsch said. “If anyone had a good idea, we tried to work it in.”

Olympic Peninsula Academy is a program operated by the Sequim School District to provide instructional support and enrichment for home-schooled students.

The team’s teacher Kevin Burke emphasized the support of the many parents who donated time, materials and advice in making the project successful.

“Future Cities is a great way for students to learn about technology but moreover it teaches them about teamwork and collaboration,” Burke said. “Regardless of their interests and abilities, they were able to create a project that they can all be proud of.”

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