Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Queen Of Angels Students Look To The Future And Win

Published February 19, 2009

So is this possible? Ameet Kallarackal, Joey Paris and Tom Ristau of Queen of Angels School think so. These seventh-graders came up with the idea and plan and won first place at the Georgia Regional Future City competition held Saturday, Jan. 24.

Forty-two teams from 20 middle schools in the greater Georgia area competed for top honors at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta.

Queen of Angels School sent four teams to the competition. Each team in attendance won a specialty award including “Bayside Plateau,” which won the people’s choice, “Collaboration City,” which won best residential zone, and “Maximus Urbis,” which won both best Sim city simulation and best transportation system. In addition to their first place honor, Jatville won the transit for all award.

The first-place team was mentored by Biji Kallarackal, an engineer, and Peggy DeGance, a teacher at Queen of Angels. They were to travel to Washington, D.C. to represent Georgia in the national competition during National Engineers Week, Feb. 14-19.

This is the seventh year Queen of Angels has participated in the Future City program. The school has sent teams that have won the regional competition five times.

As part of the competition, students were required to create a computer simulation and a physical model to scale, write an essay and give an oral presentation to the panel of judges. The mission of the National Engineers Week Future City competition is to provide a fun and exciting educational engineering program for seventh- and eighth-grade students that combines a stimulating engineering challenge with hands-on application. The students must harness mathematics, science, technology, engineering and architecture in the process of designing their project.

“This program is a teacher’s dream for hands-on learning experience,” explained DeGance.

This was the first year the Jatville team participated in the program. The city was named for the first initials of the boys’ names and the French word for city.

Ristau said of the experience, “It was fun to see all the different ideas that each team came up with even though everyone started at the same place. I can’t wait to travel to Washington D.C. and see what all the other states’ teams came up with.”

As the boys’ mentor, Kallarackal found the experience worthwhile. She said, “It was a very rewarding experience to see the children work as a team, understanding the importance of working out problems together and learning different engineering skills as they dreamed and executed ideas about a city in the future.”