Local St. Mary students win honor at regional science forum

The Emerald Forest lit up at night.

Gilroy
– Envisioning how the world might look in 45 years is a
mind-stumping challenge, but it earned three students at Saint Mary
School a special honor.
Using all recycled materials and SimCity 3000 software, eighth
graders Annie Crisp and Marissa Garcia and seventh grader Katelyn
Warner created a model of a city in the year 2050.
Gilroy – Envisioning how the world might look in 45 years is a mind-stumping challenge, but it earned three students at Saint Mary School a special honor.

Using all recycled materials and SimCity 3000 software, eighth graders Annie Crisp and Marissa Garcia and seventh grader Katelyn Warner created a model of a city in the year 2050. The students presented their work in the National Engineers Week Future City Competition regional finals, held Saturday in San Francisco. About 43 teams competed, and the Saint Mary students took home the award for the best use of cement and aggregate.

“We were very happy,” said Saint Mary teacher Georgia Stern, who helped oversee the students’ project. “We did very well.”

The city, which the group named Emerald Forest, is a 6,000-square-mile reclaimed quarry powered by solar, hydroelectric and wind sources. The city’s residents drive hover cars, each equipped with a Global Positioning System, and although they also can travel by bullet train or sky car, the most popular form of transportation is walking.

Guests to Emerald Forest can stay in an underwater hotel, submerged several hundred feet, and access their rooms by scuba diving. A 700-square-mile animal reserve features a state-of-the-art people-mover that allows human visitors to observe the animals without disturbing them. The local hospital includes a separate wing for patients’ family to stay while their relatives are under care.

The 60-by-30-by-24-inch model cost $98 to make and includes a wide variety of recycled materials, such as a motor from the second hand of a clock to create a satellite.

The students began constructing the model about two months ago. Prior to building, they toured the Granite Rock Quarry near Aromas, met three times per week to discuss ideas and worked with the software to graphically design the city.

Patrick Crisp, an engineer with Cisco Systems and Annie’s father, helped the group with wiring the model’s electricity as well as boosting morale. Annie participated in the competition for Saint Mary last year, the school’s first year to enter.

“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “I learned about engineering, about winning, and about friendship and teamwork.”

As part of the competition, the students also wrote an essay describing their city and organized a formal presentation for the judges. They practiced by going through trial runs for Saint Mary faculty and students last week.

Stern said the future city competition is unique in that it asks students to think in non-traditional ways about concepts and topics that aren’t always part of the typical classroom curriculum.

“It’s such a rewarding experience to go through a process where you work as a team and build some real camaraderie, and you get some really positive feedback from the judges,” she said. “It’s a self-esteem booster, and it’s wonderful thing for them to do before they go off to high school.”

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