Jane Ring is a seasoned veteran when it comes to the Future City Competition. The math/science teacher and student mentor has participated in the contest for 17 years. But getting the chance to help lead middle school students in the Queen of Angels’ first year of existence, it was rewarding to watch their excitement in a national competition.
Over the last five months students from the Queen of Angels Catholic School in Willow Grove worked diligently on their Future City project in which fictional cities are constructed using aspects of math, science, writing, art and public speaking. The students created these cities using SimCity4 Deluxe and presented their project in a public demonstration.
Queen of Angels was announced the Philadelphia Regional winner last month, and placed third overall in the national competition held in Washington D.C. Ring and students spent six days and five nights in the Nation’s Capital and returned to Willow Grove Wednesday.
“It’s very exciting,” Ring said. “Students get to meet kids from all over the USA. California, Idaho, Minnesota, various parts of Texas. It was exciting to meet so many new students and to have a really good time with them.
“When those kids went up on the stage - the colors, the lights, the audience, the big screen, the camera, it's truly a once-in a lifetime chance for these kids.”
- Jane Ring
Ring used to teach at Our Lady Help of Christian in Abington before the school combine with St. David to form the new Queen of Angels School. Ring brought the idea over this year and the kids were more than willing to participate.
“It’s been a lot of fun doing it at a brand new school,” Ring said. “Half of the class was very excited because they knew the tradition we had. They couldn’t wait to get started. Some of them have been looking forward to this since first grade. The new St. David's kids were also excited.”
The Queen of Angels student came up with the idea for a city called Naibhora, India, which is supposed to be modeled in the year 2173. Their engineering team came up with the idea to prevent flooding during the monsoon season, while also gathering, cleaning and storing water for use during the dry months. Their idea falls within this year's theme of "Rethink Runoff," where stormwater management is the key.
More than 40 students helped create the city and devoted a big chunk of their schedules to make it all the way to the national finals. Even though only a handful of students made the presentation, a new technology helped make everyone feel like they were part of the competition.
“The best part - this year - we actually did Facetime to watch the kids perform,” Ring said. “The whole school was able to watch honorable mentions and the top 3 teams. It was wonderful being able to have the technology to have the kids there."
The Queen of Angels group made their presentation at the national finals and then found out they made it to the Top 5.
“When we were in the room Tuesday and announced that we made the finals, when they called us, we were extremely excited,” Ring said. “We were in the prep room, the kids turned to us and said, ‘this is where we want to be.’ When they called us up on stage, we turned to them and said, ‘this is where we want to be.’”
Ring has finished in the Top 3 nine times with her groups. She has two first-place finishes, one second and six thirds in her career.