And the winner of the 5th annual Junior Solar Sprint was the solar powered model car, ‘Stewart,’ built by two students from High Tech Middle School North County who won the championship race, finishing the 20 meter track in just 8.32 seconds. Second and third place medals were awarded to students with solar cars named to ‘Ninja Chicken’ and ‘Japan Racer’ out of Torrey Hills Middle School.
The Junior Solar Sprint is sponsored by Sullivan Solar Power, San Diego-based renewable energy firm. The event is a challenge between local middle schools and this year Congressman Scott Peters, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, and San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria were in attendance to support the future growth of clean tech learning opportunities for students taking part in the model solar car racing event.
Eight middle schools from around San Diego County participated in the Junior Solar Sprint event with hundreds of attendees including parents, teachers, volunteers, judges and dignitaries watched more than 85 student cars race. Certificates were provided to all participating students from California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins.
“The Junior Solar Sprint is a symbol of new learning opportunities for students in San Diego and gears them toward science, math, engineering and technical design skills,” said Daniel Sullivan, founder and president of Sullivan Solar Power, “These fields are exciting and highly rewarding, particularly when applied to renewable energy sources, and we hope that the program will expand the next generation’s passion for renewable energy.”
The Junior Solar Sprint was hosted by the San Diego Electrical Training Center, and engages local sixth, seventh and eighth-grade science students to use scientific knowledge to create and race solar powered model cars. All students were supplied with one standard solar cell and motor. The students are to come up with their own unique design aspects to compete.
“I have seen Junior Solar Sprint change kids’ lives. They learn to work together on something they have never done,” said Elaine Gillum, eighth grade science teacher at Thurgood Marshall Middle School, “Some of the students that struggle with the book part of school, are amazing when it comes to building things. They become the kid that others turn to for guidance and leadership.”
The Junior Solar Sprint is the culminating race track event, where students compete for award in five judging categories: craftsmanship; innovation; power train; solar collection; and wheel and guidance systems. First, second and third place medals were provided to the overall race champions.
“Encouraging our kids to pursue their interest in these sectors through hands-on projects like the Junior Solar Sprint will not only prepare them for the jobs of the future, but will help keep America globally competitive,” said Congressman Scott Peters, “Events like this help spark a lifelong interest in our students to improve the world around them through innovation.”