Choctaw Central High School Solar Car Team has an opportunity
to participate in the World Solar Car Race in Australia in 2011
after winning a national championship this summer.
team won the Hunt-Winston Solar Car Challenge, a cross-country
race beginning on July 18 at the Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth,
Texas and ending on July 25 at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
and mentor Frankie Germany said while other teenagers were out
having fun during the summer months, the school's Solar Car Project
Team was hard at work at the Occupational Training Center.
students built a battery box in the solar car, wired and rewired
the 30 new lithium ion batteries, added a new battery monitoring
system, revamped the driver canopy, tested tires and test drove
the vehicle," Germany said.
programmed the race route into the computer, diagramed the electrical
system for scrutineering, and practiced safety maneuvers in preparation
for the upcoming Solar Car Challenge, which is the product of
the Winston Solar Education program and includes both track and
total of 12 solar powered vehicles from across the nation participated
in the race. These cars were divided into three divisions: Advanced,
Open, and Classic.
Hashi III, the CCHS solar car, competed in the Advanced Division.
concept of working as a team began with the months of work on
the solar car and crystallized during the race," Germany
person had a responsibility and those responsibilities varied
daily. At the team meeting each night, the co-captains, team members
and mentors Joey Long, Liddia Hughes and Germany made decisions
about who had each responsibility for the following day.
three girls were the drivers, but when not driving, they also
had jobs such as safety person, judge liaison and navigator.
boys were in charge of safety, judge liaison, auxiliary battery
preparation, radios, and general maintenance on the vehicle. By
the end of the trip, the team had become such a cohesive unit
that the mentors had little to decide; the team took care of it
on their own, Germany said.
students took ownership of the entire project and race and became
mature and responsible young adults," she said. "This
was only one of the many benefits of the solar car experience."
Laird, one of the co-captains, said she learned much more than
just the science of mechanical or electrical engineering.
experiences of meeting the public, speaking to strangers, developing
self-confidence, and working as a team are some of the most important
parts of the solar car experience," Laird said. "I know
this has helped me to prepare for college."
the race, all teams were required to stop at designated towns
for a morning break, lunch and an afternoon break before reaching
the daily destination.
these towns, Chambers of Commerce, clubs and organizations often
had water and refreshments for the team as they displayed the
cars for the public.
reporters and radio personalities interviewed the teams.
Watkins and Long were on live radio for approximately 15 minutes
at a lunch stop in Hereford, Texas.
impressed the crowd with the confidence and composure of a television
anchor woman while on the radio," Germany said.
Hashi III received a great deal of attention at each stop due
to its aerodynamic design and the fact that it was the first car
to reach each destination. As a result, the team members were
asked all manners of questions about the car and the race.
Renville, Chris Watkins and Josh Farmer all became adept at answering
questions while putting kindergarten children into the seat of
the car for photo opportunities, mentors said.
students handed out over 600 Tushka Hashi III brochures in five
states, informing all who saw the car and read the brochure about
the unparalleled solar car program at CCHS and proving the intelligence
and expertise of these dedicated young ambassadors for the Tribe,
reporter was amazed that words like acid battery, lithium ion
battery, wattage, amperes and auxiliary batteries are a part of
these students' everyday vocabulary," Germany said.
Trisilla Willis and Laird and the team of Kursten Watkins, Chris
Watkins, Zach Renville and Josh Farmer fulfilled the team's goal
and dream since the car was built in 2007 which was to win the
Tushka Hashi III team drove the 853.5 mile race in a total of
24.5 hours with an average speed of 35 miles per hour.
were the only team in all divisions to complete all the miles
and with the fastest time of any vehicle in the race, giving them
the distinction of becoming the 2010 National High School Solar
only did the team win the overall championship, they won the day
trophy every day of the race for being the first car to reach
the daily destination, the Hunt Award for Engineering Excellence
and an Appreciation Award for Excellent Team Spirit.
was awarded The Order of the Solar Cell, presented to extremely
special people who believe in high school solar car racing and
the students who make it happen.
is awesome!" Willis said as she claimed the five-foot tall
trophy for the team. "What a great way to end my solar car
has been a team member for four years and this was her final race.
Immediately upon returning to Choctaw, she was off to basic training
for the Army National Guard.
members and mentors alike agreed that this was the most exciting
race they have participated in.
community support shown and the surprise welcome home reception
were highlights in an exhausting yet satisfying 14-day trip,"
Germany said. "The team is now looking to the future, with
trips to visit the Seminole Tribe in Florida to introduce those
students to solar energy and robotics, another solar race in Houston,
Texas in April, and who knows, maybe even a trip to the Australian
outback in 2011."