Months worth of planning, collaborating and innovating paid off for a group of 15 B-P middle schoolers who impressed judges and their teachers at the Future City competition in Albany recently. The team won third place and coveted awards for Best Planned City and Best Use of Construction Materials.
“Our goal at the beginning of the year was to place better than we did last year, and we did, so it’s very exciting,” eighth-grader Emily Mickan said. “We’ve done better every year.”
The competition challenges students to create “The Age-Friendly City” by designing innovative solutions that can serve an urban area’s older population. Students are tasked with identifying age-related issues in their city and to engineer a framework that enables seniors to remain active, independent and engaged.
B-P’s team created a city they called Fountainous, inspired by the city of St. Augustine and the Fountain of Youth. They chose to create a city where younger people and older people could succeed together with the help of technologies that kept everyone safe and healthy.
The team is composed of Michen, Isabella LaTour, Robert Hernandez, Ashley Marotta, Colin Santon, Charles Santon, Owen Compani, Albert Zierak, JD Cetnar, Logan Aery, Trenton Richnond, Marion Marotta, Ethan Waufle and Katherine Bolebruch.
Their advisers are science teachers Anita Stabrowski and Michael Nacheman, who agreed that this student-centered program is the “ultimate in project-based learning.” Both gave credit to the eighth grade students who stepped into leadership roles.
“We really only facilitated the program because the students know the expectations and they’re motivated,” Stabrowski said. “They wanted to learn and they wanted to do well. They took direction and developed crucial skills like collaboration and leadership.”
“The ultimate goal of being a teacher is when a student can teach other students,” Nacheman said. “These students did that for one another and I’m incredibly proud.”