Stanislaus County teams taking future cities to D.C. competition

naustin@modbee.comJanuary 29, 2014 

Future City teams from Stanislaus County captured first and second place in the Northern California engineering competition and head next to Washington, D.C., for a shot at going to U.S. Space Camp.

Modesto Girl Scout Troop 2225 took first place and the team from Walnut Elementary in Turlock placed second in the regional contest, which finished Saturday in San Jose. The Girl Scout team also took top honors for overall best essay, best virtual city and best physical model, troop leader Kristi Engel said.

More than 100 schools competed this year at the Northern California face-off. Twelve Stanislaus County teams competed in Modesto on Jan. 15, and all participated in the Northern California contest.

“This is the fourth consecutive year that a team from Stanislaus County will represent Northern California at the national competition,” said Cheryl Goulart, event coordinator for the Stanislaus County Office of Education.

The national competition is slated for Feb. 16-22 in Washington. First prize is a trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala. Second and third place are cash prizes of $5,000 and $2,000.

It will be the second trip east for the Girl Scouts, who were awarded for the most innovative design of infrastructure system at last year’s national event. Walnut Elementary, with only sixth-graders eligible for the middle-grades contest, has a new crew heading to Washington.

This year’s theme is “Tomorrow’s Transit.” Future City is judged on five components: virtual city design; research essay; city narrative; model; and team presentation. Scores from all five components are added together to determine the top team.

Girl Scout Troop 2225 members are seventh- and eighth-grade girls from the Stanislaus Union School District and Big Valley Christian School. Contestants showcasing their future city of Varuna are Kristyn Dexter, Kiana Engel, Madison Whisenand and Kenna Vandemark. Engel is the coach, and Evangelina Paoluccio serves as the professional mentor.

Bymum is the name of the imaginary city created by sixth-graders at Walnut Elementary. Student presenters are Sean Bernard, Dion Skaria and Edward Yaco. Teacher Jamie Garner is the coach. Mike Pitcock and Raul Raya serve as professional mentors.

Additional Walnut students who worked on the Future City project: Cooper Bowen, Gaby Bravo, Joe Carlsen, Cooper Carr, Noah Cossey, Ainslie Coughran, Ibrahim Dahger, Hayden Feldman, Elizabeth Gonsalves, Marcus Hawley, Maxwell Lee, Aunika Light, Vince Mann, Joseph Martin, Brock Paslay, Makaila Ramsey, Jesse Singh, Eli Smith, Jackson Thomas and Graysen Yonano.

Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at or (209) 578-2339. Follow her on Twitter @NanAustin.

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