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Waukesha STEM Academy's stormwater pollution solution earns fourth at contest

Theme of Future City was 'Rethink Runoff'

Jan. 15, 2013

Using the theme "Rethink Runoff" students from Waukesha Catholic, Waukesha STEM Academy and Mount Calvary Lutheran competed in the Future City Competition Regional Finals last week at the Milwaukee School of Engineering's Kern Center.

One of the nine Waukesha STEM Academy teams that competed in the competition finished in fourth place.

The team consisted of Charlie Smith, teacher; Jim Jaeschke, mentor; and students Josh Spleas, Adam Weber and Draven Schillings.

There were 53 teams - each team consist of three students - from 20 Wisconsin schools that took part in the competition.

St. Alphonsus in Greendale won the regional and qualified to the Future City National Finals Feb. 17 to 23 in Washington, D.C., during National Engineers Week.

Middle schoolers from nearly 40 regions across the U.S. developed their own solutions to combat the devastating effect of unchecked water runoff.

They were asked to design clean solutions to manage stormwater pollution.

Students submitted a research essay describing their resolutions for this year's theme. As theyanalyzed the most damaging effects of extreme weather, students designed new and creative ways to manage stormwater that make city landscapes act more like natural landscapes.

Using SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition software, participating students worked with an educator and volunteer mentor to design a virtual Future City model incorporating their ideas.

Students also built a physical model using recycled materials, which can't cost anymore than $100. When doing their projects, students considered safety, cost efficiency and appearance of their ideas.

"We've been part of the competition the last couple years and it's always a great challenge," said Ryan Krohn, a former principal at Waukesha STEM Academy and now the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction/educational accountability.

Waukesha Catholic and Mount Calvary Lutheran each sent two teams to regionals.

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