St. Philip Neri Catholic School in Midwest City will advance to national competition next month in the Future City engineering competition in Washington D.C.

Middle school students from sixth to eighth grades across the state created projects focused on designing an age-friendly city 100 years in the future. These Future City projects were presented to a panel of judges at regional competition earlier in the month at Oklahoma Christian University. The project required creating a SIM City model, building a physical display model to scale, writing an essay, and making a presentation that included answering judges’ questions. As the winner St. Philip Neri advances to national competition to represent the state of Oklahoma. This is the 11th year for St. Philip Neri to compete at the nationals since 2003.

The 2018 St. Philip Neri team created a futuristic city in Kotahi, New Zealand. All components of the metropolitan area were designed with advanced engineering modules from transportation to medical centers and housing.

Eighth grader, Isaiah Yabut explains, “We focused on social isolation. We created a Smart Home Complex where extended family can be together.” The middle school model included home lighting based on mood or emotion and sensory floor tiles.

Yabut presented the project alongside classmate, Jake Fleishauer, who presented the transportation aspect of the project which involved a new form of transportation: the T-5. Fleishauer clarified, “The T-5 is actually an innovative concept. Gyro-cars have been made before, just not of this size. It’s a big vehicle that travels on two stilts with big wheels and can do this because the gyroscopes spin really fast and help it remain stable.”

The students were led by their middle school teachers and two engineer mentors, Gary Swymeler and John Alexin. Mentor teacher, Mrs. Sue Hawkins, is very optimistic about this project and its ability to compete at the national level, “Over the years of participating in the Future City Competition, I have had special teams to work with. This year’s team that designed Kotahi, New Zealand is one of those special ones – willing workers with great attitudes and a desire to do whatever they needed to do to be successful. All their hard work certainly paid off with a win at the Oklahoma competition.” The team also won the Best Essay award at regional competition.

St. Philp Neri is excited about presenting at the nation’s capitol. Seventh grader Baylee Melot reflects on her experience, “I really think this school has given me a lot of opportunities because I am pushed to do more than is required.”

The Future City model will be on display this Sunday, January 28th at the School Open House from 12:15pm – 2:00pm. The entire school can be toured and faculty and staff will be available to answer questions. The school serves three year olds to national-winning eighth graders.

The campus will be closed through Wednesday, February 17. Virtual/distance learning will be in place beginning 2/16/21.

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