FUTURE CITY SPOTLIGHT
Future City Spotlight is a new series showcasing the educators, engineer mentors, parents and students who comprise the Future City Competition. In their own words, individuals will tell us about how Future City has affected them.
Through a Mother's Eyes...
My husband and I are first generation Polish immigrants. We came to the United States to realize our dreams, never doubting that even in hard times, we could make a better future for ourselves and for our children. We dream big and work hard to achieve those dreams. We often ask ourselves "How can we teach our children that lesson?" The answer is always the same, "through experience".
I first learned of the Future City Competition on the radio. As I was learning about this amazing opportunity, I knew right away that this contest would be a great opportunity for my son, Jan. Building the Future City, would require Jan to use his interest in technology and engineering as a vehicle to awaken his ingenuity, creativity and out-of-the box thinking. It was an experience bigger than him - the opportunity to experience the America I read about in my childhood books.... something I wanted so desperately for my son; to make a difference, experience teamwork, and learn how to overcome any challenge.
Our first step was to understand the details of the contest. Since we were not sponsored by our schools, we had to work from the ground up by thoroughly researching the specifics and requirements of the contest. Fortunately, we were introduced to Reed Brockman, the New England Coordinator, who guided and supported us throughout the process. The next challenge was for Jan to find teammates who would not only share his interests, but would also be as passionate and dedicated as he was. Finally, I wanted to ensure that the team's parents would want to be active participants in mentoring the children. We were happy to see that Jan’s teammates were great contributors. The parents became mentors and educators. And so a strong team was created.
Starting in September and for the next four months, the boys met numerous times at each other’s houses; after school, on weeknights, weekends and even holidays, working tirelessly to design a city of their dreams. Making the deadlines wasn’t always easy, but the boys were determined. They started to feel that they could make a difference and that they ideas could be solutions for the future. They were learning that, through consistent and hard work, they can overcome any challenge. Soon enough, their hard work began to pay off; the skyscrapers were taking shape, the city transport system, hospital, library, university and stadium were coming together. Their Hydro-Action City was born!
On the day of the competition we arrived in Boston with no expectations...just satisfied with what we had accomplished. As our boys went through the first judging sessions, they were complemented for their city's water pump system, architecture, and engineering solutions. Our boys were excited. Finally, to our surprise, our team was named one of the three finalists, winning special awards for the Best Use of Water Resources, Best Model, and People’s Choice Award. We were ecstatic! The boys had to present their project once again to the entire audience, ultimately winning first place. They got up on the stage...at first a little shy, and then more confident and proud. As they were talking about the project, it was clear that they were describing their dreams as well.
As I was looking with pride and teary eyes at our boys who were speaking with calmness and confidence, I realized that in the process of the Future City Competition, my dream came true as well. Here was my son, surrounded by his friends, not even knowing yet that he was experiencing the beauty and promise of America. America, where if you only dare to follow your dreams, you can achieve anything.
Ewa Krepsztul - Mother, Hydro-Action City, Bethel, CT Middle School Team, 2014 Future City New England Regional Winner