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South Pointe Team Heading to Washington DC

NEWS                                                                                    Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                             880 S. Lemon Avenue
February 7, 2013                                                                  Walnut, CA 91789

Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
(909)595-1261 ext. 31204

South Pointe Students Heading to Washington DC
1st Place Future City award wins a trip to National Finals

DIAMOND BAR, CA—The future is looking bright for three South Pointe Middle School students.

Eighth graders Jonathan Kuo, William Loo, and Nicole Matsuda won 1st Place at the 2013 regional Future City Competition and have now qualified to compete at the National Finals in Washington D.C.

The 2013 National Engineers Week Southern California regional competition was held at San Bernardino Valley College on January 19.

The students, advisor - technology teacher Allin Everman, and engineer mentor Kenny Matsuda received an all-expense paid trip to represent their region at the national event on February 15-20.

“South Pointe is so proud of these students. They truly have their eye on the future with the intent to make this world a better place,” said Principal Susan Arzola.

Everman is one of South Pointe's Project Lead the Way teachers, a new program that focuses on integrating math and science through engineering.

“I’m in charge of the projects,” he said. His class sent two teams to the Future City regional competition.  Eighth graders Joanna Zhang & Alan Chang scored very high at the contest, Everman said.

33,000 students nationwide compete each year designing and building the city of their dreams with the help of their teacher and engineer mentor.

This year’s contest theme: Rethink Runoff: Design Clean Solutions to Manage Stormwater Pollution.

The 1st Place team said they began working on their dream city in December.

“The virtual city had to be 150 years in the future,” Jonathan said.

“Mr. Everman taught us how to use the SimCity program to create a perfect city for 50,000 virtual people - a utopia,” William said.

“We named our city Riverside because it’s located beside a river,” said Nicole.

Every member played an important role in the project-based learning experience.

“They all created the virtual city together, then each student took on different parts of the project,” their advisor said.

Contest requirements included a 1,000 –word essay, 500-essay narrative to describe the city, create the virtual city and send before the competition, build model, and prepare for the presentation at the competition.

Future City also helps to build students’ 21st century skills. The competition gives the kids the opportunity to do the things that engineers do —identify problems; brainstorm ideas; design solutions; test, retest and build; and share their results.

The tabletop scaled model had to be made of all recyclable materials.

Students gathered bits and pieces of Styrofoam, PVC tubing, and computer parts.

“The cardboard even came from old science projects,” Nicole said.

We used tiny pieces of evergreen shrubs cut from our backyards for the landscape, William said.

The team custom painted their dream city that included a high-speed magnetic transport train, retail stores, homes designed for water conservation, police station, health clinic bakery, café, sushi and ramen restaurant, and a chocolate factory.

Entries also included at least two mechanical electric-working devices. Everman said they installed an escalator and wind turbine with their $100 allowed budget.

Now the team is busily putting the finishing touches on their entry before the national competition.

“It feels like all the work paid off, but we’re still working,” Everman said.

“We want to make it better for nationals. We’re adding a new little percolator that will go on top to simulate rainfall collected by gutters that will be recycled. Rain and water on the building tops will go through a filter and then can be used as drinking water,” he added.

Future City is a team effort and the competition is about fun, friendship and teamwork.

And South Pointe’s winning team has known each other since elementary school.

The trio worked together a lot – even during lunch and after school. 

Advisor Everman gladly volunteered his time to the kids.

“He went above and beyond,” praised WVUSD Board Member Nancy Lyons.

The 1st place team in each region advances to National Finals in Washington, DC. These top teams will be competing for cash prizes and the 1st Place team wins a trip to the U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.

The South Pointe team has even signed a waiver because they may get the opportunity to meet President Obama.


Before the national competition, South Pointe Future City team members Jonathan Kuo, William Loo, and Nicole Matsuda put finishing touches on their model including installing gutters around buildings and a water system. Shown with advisor teacher Allin Everman. 

South Pointe 8th grader Nicole Matsuda get helps from advisor teacher Allin Everman as she readies the Future City model for the national competition. 

Nicole Matsuda, Jonathan Kuo, and William Loo diligently work on their model during lunchtime. 

The South Pointe 1st Place Future City team worked hard and had fun designing and building their project for the competition. Shown Jonathan Kuo and William Loo measuring and installing tiny rain gutters on the buildings. 

South Pointe 8th grade students Nicole Matsuda, Jonathan Kuo, and William Loo, with advisor teacher Allin Everman proudly show their 1st Place Future City trophy and model. The team will compete in the national finals February 15-20 in Washington, D.C.