St. John Lutheran School from Michigan Wins the 2015 National Future City Competition!


WASHINGTON DC, February 17 – A city of the future – Lekol-la-fre  – engineered by students from St. John Lutheran School in Rochester, Michigan – has won the grand prize today at the 2015 Future City® Competition. The students – Leah Schroeder, Emily Abramczyk and Abby Dayton  – teamed up with their teacher, Jon Pfund, and volunteer mentor, Linda Gerhardt, Phd, Global Lead Paint Quality for General Motors in Warren, Michigan.  The win is the second Future City Grand Prize in as many years for St. John Lutheran School.

“The most memorable part of our Future City experience was how we bonded with each other,” said Abby Dayton, 13.  “There were stressful days but we stayed bonded and held each other up.”  

Teammate Leah Schroeder, 13, added, “We learned that if you do what you do to the best of your ability, you’re a winner inside.”

Since last fall, 40,000 middle school students from 1,350 schools have been engaged in the 2014-15 Future City® Competition. This year’s challenge: Feeding Future Cities.

Teams from 37 middle schools and organizations, each a winner of intense regional competitions held throughout January, participated in the Future City National Finals, which took place at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC as part of Engineers Week, February 14-18, 2015. 

St. John Lutheran 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 National Finals sponsor Bentley Systems). Their city’s solution is based on the model the team researched, developed and presented.

Second place went to West Ridge Middle School from Austin, Texas for their Future City, which they titled Aquatopolis . The team is comprised of students Dillon Samra, Everest Maher and Mikaela Sherry, as well as teacher Carol Reese  and mentor Nicholas Samra, Director of Design for TSMC in Austin. West Ridge Middle School receives a $5,000 scholarship for its STEM program, sponsored by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE).

Academy for Science and Foreign Language (ASFL) from Huntsville, Alabama took third place honors for its Future City Era Verde. The team is comprised of students Xavier Zyenge, Zaria Ben and Zach Jones, teacher Angela Traylor and mentor Ray Woodson, retired aeronautical engineer. ASFL receives a $2,000 scholarship for its STEM program, sponsored by IEEE-USA.

Honorable mentions went to Linda Fletcher’s HEART of Science Cooperative from Rockwall, Texas for their city Minato (fourth place) and Queen of Angels Regional Catholic School Aresvita in Philadelphia (Fifth Place). Each receives $750 for their organization’s STEM programs, sponsored by Ohio University and CH2M Hill.

Sponsored by the nation’s professional engineering community, Future City, one of the nation’s largest engineering education programs and among the most popular, aims to stir interest in science, technology, engineering and math among young people. 

To participate, students must submit a research essay on the competition’s annual theme. While under the guidance of an educator and volunteer mentor, participating students incorporate their ideas to create a virtual Future City model using SimCity™ Deluxe Edition software. They are also required to build a physical model using recycled materials valued at no more than $100.

In addition to the winning teams, a number of Special Awards, sponsored by numerous engineering societies and organizations, were also presented.

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

Major funding for the National Finals comes from Shell Oil Company, Bechtel Corporation, and Bentley Systems.

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:

Kalli Dionysiou

Sayles & Winnikoff Communications

212-725-5200 x112

Michelle Lauren Addo

Sayles & Winnikoff Communications

212-725-5200 x122 

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