Stratford School Students Collect Top Awards at Northern California Future City Competition

February 9, 2017

Three teams from Stratford School’s San Jose Middle School and Sunnyvale Raynor Middle School campuses took home top awards at the DiscoverE Future City 2016 Regional competition Jan. 14, 2017.

Stratford’s Sunnyvale Raynor Middle School team, Curryadh, coached by engineering teacher Aarthi Janakiraman, placed second overall. Teams from San Jose Middle School included Paradigm City, which received accommodation for “Most Innovative Renewable Power Generation System.” Also from San Jose Middle School, team Starlight City placed in the top five and received commendation for “Excellence in Project Management” and “Best Communications System.” The team showcased new city solutions and impressed the judges with their creativity and presentation skills.

“The kids did an outstanding job with their Future City model, so much so that the design officer and city planner from the City of Oakland has invited the team to present their ideas to city leaders on March 17,” said Ben Guansing, math and engineering teacher at Stratford’s San Jose Middle School. “They began collaborating on their entries in October shortly after the start of the school year. Their hard work and persistence really paid off.”

Collaborating as a team with an educator and engineering mentors, Stratford students were charged with designing a virtual city using SimCity software. In addition, the teams were tasked with researching infrastructure and industrial development, while implementing their solutions into a city design. To bring the project to life, the teams built a scale model of their city using recycled materials.

According to Ms. Janakiraman, Stratford students are focused on the school’s proven STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) educational program. The unique curriculum balances STEM topics with performing and visual arts and focuses students on solving real life problems such as conserving energy, increasing water-use efficiency, decreasing traffic congestion and other topics. Competitions like Future City are a great fit with the curriculum since these emphasize project management skills from inception to design, construction, teamwork and presentation of the project to judges.

The Future City competition draws an estimated 40,000 students worldwide. Stratford’s involvement in the Future City competition helps prepare students for jobs of the future. During the month of February, Stratford School campuses are celebrating a variety of engineering topics, culminating with Engineers Week, February 19 to 25. Founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1951, Engineers Week celebrates how engineers make a difference in the world by bringing it to life for kids, educators and parents. For more information about Engineers Week, please visit