Registration is now open for the 5th Annual SA Smart City Challenge

The Mayor’s K-12 Smart City Challenge invites local 7th-12th graders to register for this year’s competition

For more information, contact: Iris F. González, Office: (210) 207-5454,

The SA Smart Competition steering committee is excited to invite local 7th - 12th grade students to participate in the 5th Annual SA Smart: Mayor’s K-12 Smart City Challenge. This year’s challenge focuses on Water and asks students, “How can San Antonio best use and manage water for the long-term benefit of its residents?”

Since 2018, SA Smart partners — local nonprofits, educators, and community leaders — have worked to drive student learning through smart city challenges. During each year’s challenge, students learn Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and STEAM (STEM+Arts) concepts through various learning experiences. Additionally, students learn civic responsibility, how to critically analyze problems, collaborate with mentors and peers, and communicate their findings—all critical skills in the 21st century economy.

For this year’s challenge, 7th - 12th grade student teams will perform research and propose ways to responsibly use and manage the water resources available to our city. Students will propose a product, service, or strategy for long-term benefit of our residents.

Teams are invited to attend a competition clinic on January 28, 2022 via one of two ways: in person at the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology (SAMSAT) Education Center on the Port San Antonio campus or through an online event. Teams may also choose to participate offline at their own pace. During the competition, students will receive mentoring by local professionals, entrepreneurs, and subject-matter experts, and prepare for the opportunity to win the Mayor’s Smart City Cup.

“The most powerful learning happens in context, and in SA Smart, students learn important lessons and also what it’s like to be a leader in our city” said Dr. Cliff Zintgraff, SAMSAT Chief Learning Officer and Chair of the SA Smart Steering Committee. “Students take on real-world problems, receive mentorship, and start important conversations with family and friends about where our city is headed in the short- and long-term,” he continued.

In its fifth year, the competition continues to prove the value of local STEM programming provided by local SA Smart partners and sponsors. “This competition is a great opportunity to support student learning and the SA Smart City Challenge really shows us how innovative younger generations can be as they think about planning for our city’s future,” said Bridgett White, AICP, Director of the Planning Department.

“San Antonio has deep roots as a community that has developed and launched innovations that have changed the world,” said Port San Antonio President and CEO Jim Perschbach. “It’s terrific that—to ensure the ongoing development of that talent—SAMSAT, the City of San Antonio and our community’s schools are coming together in creative ways to inspire and connect students with real-world challenges which they can play a big role in addressing to make the world a better, safer place.”

This spring, SAMSAT will significantly expand its operations at the upcoming Tech Port Center + Arena in the heart of the Port’s campus. The new museum facility, with an adjacent industry technology showroom, collaborative lab space, and an outdoor Atmospheric Water Generation (AWG) exhibit, will help scale and support similar programs that connect students with future educational, career and entrepreneurial paths in many of the world’s leading technologies.

The deadline to register a team for this year’s clinic is Wednesday, January 26, 2022. Teams may visit for additional details and to register.

The San Antonio Water System (SAWS) is this year’s Lead Sponsor for SA Smart.

The competition is also supported by CPS Energy, Itron, Smart Energy Education, the San Antonio Area Foundation, and the Matthew C. and Catherine A. Reedy Charitable Fund. SA Smart community partners include City of San Antonio Mayor’s Office, SAMSAT, Communities In Schools of San Antonio, Geekdom, City of San Antonio Planning Department, City of San Antonio Office of Innovation, Education Service Center-Region 20 and Alamo STEM Ecosystem.

San Antonio: America’s 21st Century City

San Antonio is a global city with a dynamic economy and workforce, a deep cultural heritage and diverse communities that are resilient and welcoming. It is one of the strongest fiscally managed cities in the country, nurturing entrepreneurship, encouraging investment and funding infrastructure. America’s seventh-largest city offers a vibrant business climate and growth opportunities in bioscience, financial services, aerospace, cybersecurity, energy, transportation, manufacturing and healthcare. In 2015, UNESCO designated San Antonio’s 18th century Spanish colonial missions as a World Heritage Site – the first in Texas. Proudly called Military City, USA®, San Antonio is home to one of the largest populations of active duty military, veterans and crucial military commands. For more information, visit


SAMSAT, the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology, Inspires What’s Next through the exploration of science, technology, engineering, and math. SAMSAT serves the region through its Museum Preview Center, SAMSAT Education Center, and robust education programming for K-12 students. SAMSAT has served 130,000 students since its founding, driving student inspiration and engagement, and connecting students to STEM education and career pathways. In April of 2022, SAMSAT will expand into a much larger space at the new Port San Antonio Innovation Center. Through all these services, SAMSAT transforms the lives of students, families and communities. Learn more about SAMSAT at


By 2040, 1.1 million new people will call San Antonio and the surrounding area home. While this future creates many challenges, it also creates opportunities. One opportunity is to drive student learning through smart city challenges. Each year, the SA Smart partners—local nonprofits, educators, and community leaders—identify the year’s challenge and run the competition. In each challenge, student teams research a San Antonio-specific smart city problem and propose a strategy, product, or service as a solution. Information on previous SA SMART Challenge winners can be found here.


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