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Stoneleigh-Burnham students participating in virtual “Future City” competition today

GREENFIELD — Four Stoneleigh-Burnham middle school students will travel to Boston today to compete in the Future City Competition, where middle school students are challenged to design and build cities of the future.

The students — Elizabeth LaValley of Greenfield, Heidi Leeds of Gill, Sofia Carlson of Qatar and Renee Xie of China — have been using the “SimCity” computer software to build their virtual city.

They also were asked to write a narrative promoting their city and how it addresses transportation issues — and were charged with building a tabletop scale model using recycled materials costing no more than $100.

They’ve received guidance along the way from a local professional: Sara Campbell, engineering superintendent for Greenfield.

“The structure of the competition is such that it tests them on a wide range of competencies: their vision, writing, presenting, working within parameters (and) creative building,” said Campbell. “I am always encouraged to see our western Mass. kids get in the mix with students from all over New England.”

More than 40,000 students from 1,350 middle schools are participating nationwide in regional competitions this month. Winners will then represent their region at the national finals in Washington, D.C., in February.

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