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Junior Solar Sprint is a National competition of 5th through 8th graders designed to help children use teamwork and ingenuity to compete to create the best crafted, most interesting and of course, the fastest solar powered vehicles they can. Students learn valuable hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (commonly known as STEM) skills, while also learning about the benefits and importance of renewable energy.
Since 2009, Sullivan Solar Power and the IBEW Local 569 have sponsored the San Diego Junior Solar Sprint, which feeds the National competition. The National competition is held annually, in conjunction with the Technology Student Association and the Army Education Outreach Program.
In 2009, Sullivan Solar Power and the IBEW Local 569 partnered with a goal of promoting clean energy and enlightening future generations. Promoting the Junior Solar Sprint program was the easy first choice towards that goal.
Each year, Sullivan Solar Power and the IBEW donate hundreds of solar race car kits to participants from regional schools, including 300 this year alone. However, donating materials is only one small way these two organizations get involved. The IBEW, or International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, is comprised of highly trained electrical professionals who receive ongoing training throughout their careers. Utilizing this knowledge base, IBEW professionals assist in “teaching the teachers.” Through outreach and training, they assist in developing the programs that local teachers use for their students. Together, the two groups organize and facilitate the event which attracted over 70 teams.
If you were not able to make it to this year’s Southern California Junior Solar Sprint event, watch this video to see what you missed. Don’t miss out next time, be sure to preregister for next year’s event through the form at the bottom of the page.
Bringing children together, where they can have fun and learn about how today’s technology will shape their futures, has always been a primary goal of the event.
“The students were over the moon just to be participating in the Junior Solar Sprint. They didn't have to win, but they were out there having fun. This is how you inspire kids to do these types of engineer endeavors in the future.”— Chris Loarie, Father
“With the challenges we face today with pollution and climate change, it’s important to open up the kids’ minds to the clean energy sector.”— Jeff Talsky, Science Teacher at Challenger Middle School
Students compete in 4 categories; speed, design, originality and construction, which lead to an overall points winner. This year’s winning team which featured the car, “Dan II,” took home the overall prize after placing first in 3 of the 4 categories. Sullivan Solar Power is proud to sponsor the overall winners as they travel to Orlando, FL next month to represent Southern California in the National competition.
Hayden Laurie and Ramses Lara take home first place at the 2017 Florida nationals! Their car, Dan II, continued its domination winning every heat, recording the fastest time and taking home the overall award by finishing multiple seconds ahead of their closest competitors.
Laurie and Lara used their engineering skills and teamwork developed together through several engineering projects at Joan Macqueen Middle (Alpine) this year. Honing 3D design, the team was able to build the fastest solar-powered car in this year’s competition.
“What set us apart at the competition was the time we put into our car and the process of improving our design from last year’s,” said Lara.
Proud father, Chris Laurie, predicts future JSS contestants will adopt several of the innovative solutions of the Dan II team to overcome common design problems faced by other competitors. While other parents were astonished these middle school students were capable of using a 3D printer! Great job team.
While this year’s local event is already in the books, it is never too early to start planning for next year. If you are a student, parent or educator who is interested in participating in next year’s Junior Solar Sprint, fill out the form below and Sullivan Solar Power will keep you apprised with important dates and deadlines.