Grey Nun Academy Middle School Students Named One Of Six Finalists In Philadelphia Region Future City Competition


Students Take Home Honorable Mention and Special Award from James J. Anderson Construction Company for ‘Best Waterfront Concept’

Friday, March 23, 2018 -- Yardley, PA – Students from Grey Nun Academy (GNA), an independent, Catholic, coeducational elementary school in Bucks County, PA, were awarded Honorable Mention at the recent Philadelphia regional Future City competition. The Academy’s team comprised of Middle School students was one of six finalists out of 40 participating teams, and also earned a special award from James J. Anderson Construction Company for Best Waterfront Concept.

Led by teacher Kim Franzon and parent Mike McAtee, the team came up with two main solutions: moving walkways to help senior citizens stay mobile and independent; and better access to health care with their invention of a "SmartBand" that continuously checks vitals and allows hologram doctors to respond immediately in emergencies while paramedics are on the way.

“A great big thanks goes to Grey Nun Academy teacher Mrs. Franzon, who is now two-for-two at getting our students into the finals!” said Mike McAtee, parent leader and professional engineer. “Over the past nine years -- when GNA first started our involvement in the program -- only seven schools have made it to the finals more than once. Grey Nun Academy’s team has placed in the finals three of the past four years. That is definitely a great testament to our fantastic teachers and students! ”

Each year, the Future City competition focuses on a specific engineering design challenge currently facing real cities. Students brainstorm problems and solutions, test theories, and learn about the design/build phase based on information they gather throughout the process.

“The students had to submit a formal essay, a virtual city report, a model, and deliver a presentation at the competition,” said Mrs. Franzon. “Our students as presenters did a fantastic job, earning Honorable Mention for placing in the top 6 of 40 competition schools. And on top of that, Grey Nun Academy also won a special award for Best Waterfront Concept, sponsored by the engineering group James J. Anderson Construction. I am very proud of our students’ success.”

“I am incredibly proud of our students for bringing home awards for Honorable Mention and Best Waterfront Concept,” said Deborah Kost, Head of School. “This is a great complement to our rigorous STEM program because students hone their skills in critical thinking, research, and public speaking, while also appreciating the importance of making a difference in our local communities.”

The Academy’s Future Cities team also presented their city to the Lower School students to spark interest in the topics covered and to ensure that Grey Nun Academy will continue to succeed in the Future Cities competition in years to come.

About Grey Nun Academy

Founded in 1963 by the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, Grey Nun Academy is an independent, Catholic, coeducational, Lower (PreK-5) and Middle school (6-8) in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The Academy's mission is to offer an academically rich curriculum that meets the unique needs of individual students while respecting the rights, interests, and dignity of each child. Grey Nun Academy is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and dually accredited by Middle States Association and AdvancED. The Academy welcomes children of all faiths and cultures. The school's educational process leads children to embrace and promote peace and social justice in our world. To learn more, please visit: or contact Lisa Grabowski at 215-968-4151.