Wood Dale Jr. High STEM team wins Future City regional competition for 2nd year

  • The Wood Dale Junior High School STEM team shows its "Greater Papyrus" city for the "Future City" STEM competition.

    The Wood Dale Junior High School STEM team shows its "Greater Papyrus" city for the "Future City" STEM competition. Courtesy of Dan West

Updated 2/2/2022 7:06 PM

By creating an ingenious city on the Nile, the Wood Dale Junior High School's STEM team has won the Future City Chicago regionals competition -- for the second year.

STEM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. In the Future City competition, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders across the U.S. design cities with simulation software, create scale models, write 1,500-word essays and give oral presentations on their city's design that address yearly themes.


The 2021-2022 theme is "A Waste-Free Future," which asks teams to design a waste-free city using the principles of a circular economy.

A circular economy is one in which a society produces, consumes, recycles and ultimately reuses the products that sustain it.

The 17-student Wood Dale team that beat eight other teams on Jan. 22 decided to create a self-sustaining city on the Nile River.

Participating students are eighth-graders Zoya Siddiqui, Oliver Kucera, Klaudia Cygan, Alexa Bernadac, Julia Belcik, Sebastian Botello and Cat Carrasco; seventh-graders Angelina Ivanova, Kendrick Ferguson, Niko Grochal, Patrick Grzywacz, Nate Gromny, Brayden Lavric, Eryk Przydzial, Hanna Dydynski, and Eduardo Perez; and sixth-grader Francesca Parrino.

The students created a fictional city called "Greater Papyrus" on the Nile north of Cairo, Egypt. The Nile is one of the most polluted rivers in the world, with around 150 million tons of industrial waste dumped into it each year.

The students' plan cleans up the Nile by reusing its water and energy to provide for a town of citizens who live mostly underground. The city runs solely on solar power, creating farms and water for residents to grow food.

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By reducing costs of animal farming and going completely plant-based, the team was able to save money to provide free health care and education to all residents.

Each team is judged on a 1,500-word essay, the model of the city, the presentation of the model, and a Q&A session addressing building materials, food, energy and the economic model.

The team will receive Amazon gift cards worth $300, to split 17 ways.

Wood Dale's team will compete against 40 other national teams for $5,000, to fund the winning school's STEM program.

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