Maricopa students take home awards in regional Future Cities Competition 

Guangzhou took second place. Back to front left to right: Joeseph Szoltysik, Jennifer Szoltysik, Haby Mae Obsequias, Kimmy Hoang, Anna Nunez-Prieto, Dalaini Margerum, Patricia Anguiano, Jake Knorr [Brian Petersheim Jr.]

Two teams comprising Maricopa middle-school students in blended-learning programs placed among the top five Saturday in the regional Future Cities competition at ASU Preparatory Academy in Phoenix. 

The Guangzhou team from Desert Wind took second place and Suezcalia from Maricopa Wells placed fourth, continuing a long line of success in the competition by Maricopa students. 

From 2015 to 2020, four Maricopa teams won the competition and advanced to nationals in Washington, D.C. 

Suezcalia took fourth place. Photo: Mrs. Laura Tietz, Orion Chaturvedi, a panel judge, Michael Fix, Jay’Lanna McClinton, Christopher Voigt and Dr. Janell Hudson. [Brian Petersheim Jr.]
The competition this year consisted of an essay, creating a project plan, building a model and then an interactive presentation about the city they created that could be self-sustaining and be in line with this year’s theme, climate change. 

Students were required to develop solutions to mitigate and reduce climate change in their future cities. 

Related: Middle school students prepare to bring city models to regionals – InMaricopa

“None of our students have completed this project before,” Desert Wind teacher Jennifer Szoltysik said. “We don’t have those seventh- and eighth-grade leaders to help guide the sixth-graders, who are new to the project.”   

Starting from scratch and with no experience in the competition, the students excelled. 

“We left the competition with four awards, including second place in the whole state,” Szoltysik said of Desert Wind students. 

Maricopa Wells students also took home four awards. 

Students spent months preparing their model cities. A total of 65 teams from schools around Arizona, participated.  The event previously took place at the ASU campus in Tempe before a three-year hiatus due to COVID-19. 

Desert Wind and Maricopa Wells students show off their cities to observers. [Brian Petersheim Jr.]
Students arrived at ASU Prep at 7:30 a.m., waiting with their groups until the opening ceremony took place and judging began an hour later. 

The Maricopa city-creators shuffled among other groups to their assigned judging rooms, where they presented to a panel of judges consisting of engineers. Judges then asked each group several questions about their projects as well as issues they may have overcome creating them. 

 After lunch, students gathered in the school’s auditorium, where awards were announced and the top cities were named. 

The top five teams then presented in front of another panel of judges and the audience of parents, teachers and other students. 

The following Maricopa teams took home awards: 

Aoife (Maricopa Wells) – Best team effort award. 

Bengal (Desert Wind) – Best model award. 

Guangzhou (Desert Wind) – Sayles Advancement of Education Foundation award. 

Guangzhou (Desert Wind) – Ruiz Legacy award, second place award. 

Mt. Metropolis (Maricopa Wells) – Best use of water & resources award. 

Suezcalia (Maricopa Wells) – 4th place award. 

Tubig (Maricopa Wells) – Public choice award. 

A Maricopa parent was also given an award. Laura Prieto-Nunez won  “Influencer of the year” after she posted a photo on Instagram with her daughter, supporting the Guangzhou team. 

All Maricopa students who competed: 

Desert Wind Middle School 

Adah Mirai: Jayce Brabham, Beckett Butters, Heath Hostler, Taliyah Manymules, Averie Patterson and Ivan Santiago.  

Bengal: Fatima Ahmed, Chayton St. Clair-Bennett, Ada Garnett, Abby Keleman, Maddy Keleman and Isabella Owens.  

Dawfi: Margaret Drinka, Blessing Hay, Elisabeth Oliver and Sophia Osorno.  

Dhaka: Warner Adams, Connor Begonja, Jack McMullen, Josalyn Morgan, Mason Rogers and Kenny Winterstellar.  

Erlangen: Gabe Alexander, Jaelen Dansby, ElRey Gomez, Andre Hood, Bennett Munkirs and Bradlee Sanders.  

Guangzhou: Jake Knorr, Kimmy Hoang, Haby Mae Obsequias, Anna Nunez-Prieto, Patricia Anguian and Dalaini Margerum.  

Hulawah: Ethan Armstrong, Emerson Baker, Marlie McNamee, Makayla Pedro, Rebecca Ullyot and Eliam Warner-Garcia. 

Maricopa Wells 

Aoife: Cameron Hayes, Elle McDermott, Jordan Smith and Joseph Reed and Rylee Lopez.    

Belleza: Brooke Macdonald, Dahlila Kellch, Jameson Jenkins and Krysta Calamusa.  

Hallstatt: Logan Fisher, Ashlyn Grutzius, Rori Blader and Emily Crowell-Viloria.  

Kai Ku’Ono: Ireland Corral, Jada Armstrong, Kasaundra Owczarski and Sophia Garci.    

Mt. Metropolis: Aliyah Cox, Logan Meyer, Zena Palmer and Joseph Pollack.  

Suezcalia: Christopher Voigt, Orion Chaturvedi, Jay’Lanna McClinton and Michael Fix.  

Takoradi: Baltej Beemat, Brookely Watome, Illianna Garcia and Tommy Capallia.  

Tubig: Brian Fernandez Chavez, Juan Trejo, Ricky Sitts and Steven Hancock-Contreras. 


View photos of the event below: