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Cardozo Students Prepare For National Competition
From left, Joey Garcia, Zachary Freson, Isabella Stout, Jon Gianelli, David Velazquez, George Navarro and Mathew Nisperos are shown here with the model that they created of their future city for the Annual Future City Competition. - photo by VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

Social Studies, Computer Applications, and Yearbook teacher, Jon Gianelli, has assembled a team of Cardozo Middle School (CMS) students to participate in the annual Future City Competition for the first time.

The National Future City competition is for middle school-age students only and it has also been extended to non- profit organizations like the Boys and Girls Club and the Girl Scouts.

Gianelli has been teaching at Cardozo for eight years and volunteered to lead a team in the competition.

“I didn’t know much about it so I went to the meeting but the whole idea of using computers in the first phase and the building the model of the future city just sounded interesting and fun,” explained Gianelli.

Joey Garcia, Zachary Freson, Isabella Stout, David Velazquez, George Navarro, and Mathew Nisperos are the students that stepped up to participate in the competition along with help from their Engineer mentor Jeff Camerena.

All the teams that compete have an engineer mentor that assists with the planning and procedures of the project.

The CMS team had to design a city on a program called SimCity with certain specifications, which is the first phase of the competition. The city had to be 150 years into the future with a population of 50,000, a balanced budget, and different zones. The future city had to also have parks, emergency services and things for the Sims to do to keep them happy and healthy.

Each portion of the competition has deadlines.

For the second phase the team had to write a research essay using their imagination about what their city would be like 150 years in the future. The city’s narrative has to be approximately 500 words.

The students then need to create a transportation problem to coincide with this year’s theme of “Tomorrow’s Transit: Design A Way To Move People In and Around Your City” and establish a solution. This will be done in a 1000-word research essay which will be broken down into several parts.

The team had to research how they were going to power their futuristic transportation device, how to keep it safe, and comfortable.

Each team member can log onto Google Docs and edit the essay in real time and add information at their discretion.

The final phase of the competition consists of the presentation and a model of the future city. The students will participate in the Stanislaus County Mock Future City Competition today, Wednesday, Jan. 15 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Petersen Event Center, 720 12th St., Modesto. The final round of the evening’s competition starts at 6:30 p.m. and will be open to the public.

The mock competition is good, according to Gianelli, because the team may not be 100 percent ready yet. The event today is designed to help prepare the team for the upcoming competition in San Jose on Saturday, Jan. 25 at Cisco System, 150 West Tasman Drive.

The three presenters that will be competing in the Future City Competition Regional Finals are Garcia, Stout, and Navarro.

The students will take their essay to the Finals, give a presentation about their city, and what their transportation solution is. They will also be discussing things like the different infrastructure, environmental, and energy issues in their future city.

Garcia created the idea for their transportation solution by inventing an electric vehicle called the Monowheel 2.0. According to Garcia, the original Monowheel was made in the late 1900s and was a wheel that people could pedal around like a unicycle.

The upgraded model, the electric two seater vehicle will have a slim bar over your head and a thick kind of wheel to roll around, windows on the sides, a 360 degree camera on the outside and a monitor on the inside.

“They are doing great, a really good job, and working really hard,” said Gianelli.

According to future city reps, DiscoverE’s annual Future City Competition for sixth, seventh and eighth grade students are held from September 2013 through February 2014. Future City is a major program of DiscoverE, a consortium of professional and technical societies and major U.S. corporations, and culminates every year during Engineers Week.

In Northern California there are 130 teams competing and Cardozo Middle School is one of them.

The winner of the Regional State Finals will advance to the National Finals held in Washington, D.C. in February.