BusByway - San Diego Middle School Students Compete Solar Powered Model Cars at Fifth Annual Junior Solar Sprint
San Diego’s leading renewable energy firm, Sullivan Solar Power has sponsored a competitive event between middle schools, the Junior Solar Sprint, for the fifth consecutive year. 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.
“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 solar.”
The Junior Solar Sprint event, hosted by the San Diego Electrical Training Center, allows 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.”
Eight middle schools from around San Diego County participated in the Junior Solar Sprint event Saturday, with hundreds of attendees including parents, teachers, volunteers, judges and dignitaries. More than 85 student cars, sponsored by Sullivan Solar Power, entered the race. Certificates were provided to all participating students from California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins.
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.
Solar powered model car, ‘Stewart,’ built by two students from High Tech Middle School North County 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.
“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.”
About Junior Solar Sprint
The Junior Solar Sprint is a hands-on, multidisciplinary program that motivates students and expands education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics through renewable energy. Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students from middle schools throughout San Diego County design solar-powered model cars with unlimited ingenuity and inventiveness. The event is made possible through the San Diego Electrical Training Center and Sullivan Solar Power. Supporters include the National Electrical Contractors Association, Electrical Vehicle Association of San Diego and the San Diego Renewable Energy Society. Visit http://www.juniorsolarsprint.com for more information.