Blythewood, SC (WLTX) - During President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address Tuesday, he talked a lot about focusing education on math and science. There is one group in the Midlands who already seem to be on the right track.
A group of Blythewood Middle School students are on their way to Washington, D.C., after they won the SC Regional National Engineers Week Future City Competition. Lillie Buschmann, an 8th grader, Valerie Miller, also in 8th grade, and Anthony Richards, a 7th grader, were asked to build a model of what they think cities will look like in the future. With the help of teachers, Nicole Schuldes, Jessica Fox, and Engineer Mentor Steven King, the team clenched 1st place.
In February, the students will compete on the national level, along with 30 other teams from across the country. It's an accomplishment that they deserve.
"We used what we had naturally, to create hydro-kinetic power," said 8th grade student Lillie Buschmini.
When you hear phrases like this, you may think you're talking to a 50-year-old scientist. But these scientists aren't even in high school yet. These kids are fresh off a big win, where thousands across the county competed.
"When we knew we were first, we were so excited!" Buschmini said. "We were jumping up and down!"
Fox and Schuldes know the importance of what the students have accomplished.
"Science is fun," explained Fox. "It's just about tapping into interests that they already have and using that to fuel what's going on in class. If you've got those problem solving skills in science and math, then you can really tackle any problem and that will make us more competitive on the global perspective."
Both teachers helped the students build the impressive model of a futuristic city. It's a future that they know they'll help shape.
"The kids are really our future," said Buschmini. "And if we don't teach them about the Earth and how we can fix it, then how are we going to fix it?"
Hopefully, these extra-ordinary kids are just a glimpse of what we can expect in the future. Schuldes says it's going to take work nationwide.
"I think that it has to start really young," explained Schuldes. "I don't think you can slap some kid in a biology class in 10th grade, and say 'okay, have a passion for this.'"
Valerie Miller understands what it means to think ahead. "If we don't do these things, we're not going to be able to have a future," she said.
Whoever wins the national competition gets to go to space camp and meet the President. Good luck Blythewood Middle!