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15 Local Middle Schools Competed in the State's Largest Solar Showdown

It was anything but a regular school day for the 15 local middle schools students who participated in the May 3rd, Jackson Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) Junior Solar Sprint (JSS) competition. Using one of the Earth’s brightest resources, the sun, students put their hand-built solar sprinters to the test in a fast paced race competition held at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga.

Chestatee Middle School, Hall County; 1st place in Speed/Performance - from left to right; front row: Salvador “Chava” Juarez, Creed Browning and Ricardo Zumudio; back row: Team Coach Glen Lawson

Chestatee Middle School’s solar sprint car took home gold winning 1st place in Speed/Performance. In the same category, Winder Barrow Middle won 2nd place and West Hall Middle won 3rd place. Judges awarded 1st place for Best in Design / Engineering to Winder Barrow Middle School, followed by North Gwinnett Middle taking 2nd place and Creekland Middle with 3rd place.

Winder Barrow Middle School, 1st place in Design/Engineering & 2nd place in Speed/Performance - from left to right; front row: Katherine Black, Tyler Laseter, Vince Sparacello and Chris Wilko; back row: Adam Parker, Trace Freeman, Team Coach Curtis Mathis and Bailey Brock

Banks, Chestatee, Creekland, Dacula, East Hall, East Jackson, Frank Osborne, Kings Bridge, Madison, North Gwinnett, North Hall, Richard Hull, Sweetwater, West Hall and Winder Barrow middle schools competed this year.

The best solar-powered model cars from each school were judged on performance and design in this regional competition. All participants received identical solar panels and motors in kits; however, the students could be creative when selecting what their chassis, wheels, transmissions and designs would be from other materials. Encouraged to use math and science principles, students also had the opportunity to include a little creativity in this fun, hands-on educational program. In addition to qualifying race times, cars were also judged on design, craftsmanship and performance.

“The JSS is designed to teach principles of energy and science in a fun and exciting atmosphere that’s teaching our young folks about alternative energy sources,” says Randall Pugh, president and CEO.

Developed by Green Power EMC, the JSS program is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and Midwest Research Institute, Battelle and Bechtel and managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Along with Jackson EMC, this year’s Presenting Sponsor was Sol America. The race was also sponsored in part by Green Power EMC, Road Atlanta, Skip Barber Racing School, Right Choice, First Century Energy and PPT Promotions.

Middle schools in Jackson EMC’s service territory were selected to join in this educational, solar showdown event. For more information about the JSS program, check out Jackson EMC on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.