Indiana Region Wins Grand Prize at 28th Annual Future City Competition

WASHINGTON DC, February 18, 2020 – A city of the future – Yemoja  –  engineered by students from Norwell Middle School in Ossian, Indiana  – has won the Grand Prize today at the 2020 Future City® Competition – the 28th year of this prestigious international program. The students, Jordyn Xayyachack, Teagan Lesley, Madeline McCabe, Nevada Lenwell, Morgan Batdorff, Connor Reed, Cassandra Coyne, Eli Randol and Lukas Mashuda, teamed with educators Bill Bostain, Stephanie Scott and Bonnie Dickey as well as volunteer mentor Albert Bostain, to earn this year’s top honors. The Future City Finals, which concluded today at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, is one of the showcase events taking place during Engineers Week.

Jordyn Xayyachack says, “I felt really calm coming here, because I was very happy to just have made it to finals.” Madeline (Maddy) McCabe agreed, saying, when “we heard them start to call out the fifth and fourth place teams, I was waiting for that to be us, I never dreamed we’d be first – Indiana has never placed in the top five!” Teagan Lesley agrees – “I never ever expected us to get first place! I couldn’t even speak. It’s amazing because our school is small and the middle of nowhere and not only that, Indiana has been in the competition for 19 years and has never placed in the top five!”

Since last fall, more than 45,000 middle school students from 1,500 schools in more than 40 US regions, as well as teams from Canada and China, have imagined, designed and built cities for the 2019-2020 Future City® Competition. This year’s theme, Clean Water: Tap Into Tomorrow, challenged students to identify an urban water system threat and develop a futuristic solution to ensure a reliable supply of clean drinking water.

Norwell Middle School takes home the Grand Prize of a trip to U.S. Space Camp and $7,500 for its school’s STEM program (provided by Finals sponsor Bentley Systems, Inc.). Their city’s solution is based on the model the team researched, developed and presented.

Second place went to Great Plains region from Southwest Middle School in Lawrence, Kansas. The students, Jake Loos, Julia Kwan, Yejun Yun, Monte Asisian, Dawson Bonnell, Connor Brown,  Steven Duan, Ethan Hart, Roman Jasso, John Platkowski, Cooper Stone, Elliott Storm and Braden Walton teamed with educators Dani Lotton-Barker and Jamie Shaw along with volunteer mentor Chris Storm for their Future City, Lima. Their school receives a $5,000 scholarship for its STEM program, sponsored by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE).

“At first when we came here our goal was just to get to finals.  When we heard we were in the final five, we were super happy and surprised and wanted to win!” said Ethan Hart. Steven Duan chimes in that “It feels really good that our team has made it to second place for the first time ever for the Great Plains region! Ethan says that he “learned a lot more about how engineering applies to daily life.”

Third place winning city, Chhnok Tru  – engineered by North Carolina region students from Langtree Charter Academy in Mooresville, NC - took third place honors.  Their program receives a $2,000 scholarship for its STEM program, sponsored by Shell.

Honorable mention for fourth place went to New York-Albany students from Richard H. O’Rourke Middle School in Burnt Hills, NY for their Future City, Nerosparta. Fifth place was awarded to Idaho region students from Light Of Learning School in Boise for their city Luna Glacias. Each receives $750 for their organization’s STEM programs, sponsored by NCEES (National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying).


The Future City Competition is a project-based learning experience where students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future. Keeping the engineering design process and project management front and center, students are asked to address an authentic, real-world question: How can we make the world a better place?

During the Future City Competition, students work as a team to complete five deliverables. They design a virtual city using SimCity™ software. They research a city-wide issue and write an essay describing their findings and innovative solutions. Teams complete a project plan to help keep their project on track. They also build a tabletop scale model of their city using recycled materials and create a short presentation about their city.

One of the nation’s leading engineering education programs and among the most popular, Future City has received national recognition and acclaim for its role in encouraging middle schoolers to develop their interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In 2017 Future City received a prestigious national award as a leading engineering education program, as it was recognized by US2020 and co-founding sponsors Chevron and Tata Consultancy Services for its achievements and innovations in STEM education and its accessibility to underrepresented youth.

In 2016, the Future City Competition received the 2016 Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction, presented by Turner Construction Company and the National Building Museum. 

In 2015, Future City was named the grand prize winner in the UL (Underwriters Laboratories Inc.) Innovative Education Award program, receiving a $100,000 award. The UL award highlights the essential, urgent and significant value of E-STEM education.

Future City has ongoing opportunities for engineering and technical professionals to volunteer in a number of different roles, including team mentors and regional coordinators. For more information about Future City and volunteer opportunities, visit

Major funding for the Future City Finals comes from the Bechtel Corporation, Bentley Systems, Inc, NCEES, Shell Oil Company, and DiscoverE. Additional program support provided by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, EA, NASA*, Northrup Grumman Foundation, UEF and UL.

About DiscoverE

DiscoverE is leading a growing volunteer movement that inspires and informs present and future generations to discover engineering. Our network of volunteers in the US and abroad is drawn from the DiscoverE coalition of more than 100 professional societies, major corporations and government agencies. Together we meet a vital need: introducing students, parents, and educators to engineering, engaging them in hands-on engineering experiences and making science and math relevant. For more information, visit


Future City Competition - National:

Carina Sayles

Sayles & Winnikoff Communications

(212) 725-5200 ext. 210

Alyssa Tognetti

Sayles & Winnikoff Communications

212-725-5200 x114