Bexley Middle School eighth-graders won first place in the national Future City competition on Feb. 18 in Washington, D.C. They competed with 37 other schools.

Bexley Middle School eighth-graders won first place in the national Future City competition on Feb. 18 in Washington, D.C. They competed with 37 other schools.

The students qualified for the national competition by winning a regional competition on Jan. 17 in Columbus. By winning the national event, the students earned an all-expenses paid trip to Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., according to a Bexley school district news release.

The competition, part of National Engineers Week, asks participants to create their vision of a future city. Focusing on eco-responsibility, the Bexley team built "Novo-Mondum," an Icelandic city in the year 2171.

The goal of the competition is to design a futuristic city and discuss elements such as urban planning, zoning, transportation, energy, economy, environment and education, according to the National Engineers Week Web site.

Bexley team members were Abby Sharp, Tom Krajnak, Wyatt Peery, Elizabeth Maher, Aaron Hutchinson and Truman Haycock. Advisers were teacher Margaret Englehardt and local engineer Mark Sherman.

Mayor John Brennan presented the students with a proclamation during a recent Bexley City Council meeting.

Each team in the Future City competition plans its city using Sim City software and creates a model to show a physical representation of one section of the city. Team members must write both an essay about the yearly theme and an abstract about their city. They also must make a presentation to judges.

Krajnak said the team's project included a self-sustaining water system for each resident unit and a 500-word essay on using bacteria to purify water.

"We used our essay and abstract to build a model," he said. "It was hard to organize which building would go where, what each building does and how to make it look good."

Englehardt said her students did a good job answering impromptu questions during the regional competition.

"They can think on their feet," she said.

Principal Harley Williams said the school is very proud of the students' performance.

"I think as a team consistently we have done very well," he said. "It was a nice feeling when we heard the news. We were excited (when) we finished top five. To finish No. 1 was validation of their hard work."

tstubbs@thisweeknews.com