• Feb. 27, 2024

    Fort Couch finishes No. 5 at international competition

    Future CityA team of students from Fort Couch Middle School placed fifth at the international DiscoverE 2024 Future City® Competition, which was held Feb. 17-20, 2024, in Washington, D.C. Eighth graders Felix Chen, Rory Wilson and Claire Birmingham, along with Jason O’Roark, gifted and accelerated math teacher, represented the team from Upper St. Clair.

    Forty-six teams from across the United States and China competed in the event.

    “Getting in the top five is a big deal….that’s where the prizes start,” Mr. O’Roark said. “We have a big trophy in my classroom and the team won $750 for the school's STEM program.”

    Since last fall, middle school students in 37 U.S. regions as well as teams from all over the world have imagined, designed, and built cities for DiscoverE's 2023-2024 Future City® Competition. This year's theme, Electrify Your Future, challenged students to imagine and design future cities that are fully electric and powered by clean, green and renewable energy sources.

    Three of the top five teams are from Pennsylvania, including the Philadelphia, Lancaster and Pittsburgh areas. The remaining two top teams are from New York and Texas.

    “The kids did a great job presenting at nationals and answering questions from panels of engineers,” Mr. O’Roark said. “This is the best anyone from the Pittsburgh region has done since 2004.”

    More than 35 Fort Couch students worked throughout the fall to transform the current city of San Antonio, Chile, located just west of Santiago on the coast, into Tierra Fuerza (roughly Spanish for earth power). Students who worked on the project included eighth graders Aadhya Agrawal, Aanya Agrawal, Maria Alfredson Themudo, Sam An, Claire Birmingham, Taro Carr, Felix Chen, Malo Dubreil, Ahana Mendhi, Grace Nasman, Michaela Pacella, Cynthia Shen, Suhavi Singh, Hope Waldron, John Whitman, Rory Wilson and Joey Wyse; and seventh graders James Conner, Isabella Dastur, Claire Dietiker, Lindsey Fitzgerald, Finley Garvey, Darsh Kakkad, Aadi Kaushik, Lindsay Krofcheck, Will Kreizenbeck, Theodora Lagonis, Owen Maher, Kate McClintock-Comeaux, Clara McLean, Mira Murthy, Avik Pandey, Seth Pedretti, Daniel Smith, Arya Zevallos and Maddy Zevallos.

    The Fort Couch Middle School team earned the opportunity to compete at the international event by placing first at the 2024 Pittsburgh Regional Future City Competition on Jan. 20, 2024. This marked the second year in a row that Fort Couch Middle School won the regional competition.


    Watch the Future City Finals Awards  (The Fort Couch Middle School Team is at 1:55:10)


    Top 5:  DiscoverE 2024 Future City® Competition

    • First Place: Farnsworth Middle School –  Guilderland, New York
    • Second Place: Lionville Middle School –  Exton, Pa.
    • Third Place: Warwick Middle School – Lititz, Pa.
    • Fourth Place: Al-hadi School of Accelerative Learning – Houston, Texas
    • Fifth Place: Fort Couch Middle School – Upper St. Clair, Pa.