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Greenpower Race at Whitesburg P-8 Has Largest Turnout Yet for a U.S. Race

Greenpower USA’s “Whitesburg Invitational 2017” gave students from around Huntsville and the Southeast a chance to show off their STEM skills with their latest hands-on vehicles.  Forty-eight teams from schools around North Alabama, as well as Florida and Mississippi, made the event the largest Greenpower event to date in the country, with Huntsville City Schools entering twenty-nine teams. This year’s theme was “Greenpower Gives Back,” with collections of soups and hygiene items to donate to Manna House for chemotherapy patients. 

“There’s a lot of science that’s being applied by these kids,” says Alabama Superintendent Michael Sentence, “in both the development of their cars and the actual races.”  Dr. Matt Akin, the Superintendent of Huntsville City Schools, points out that Greenpower is a great example of the many innovative programs that take place in the school system.  He says that “Greenpower gets a lot of credit – as it should.”  Students put a lot of effort into their cars, tweaking them all the way up to the start of the race.  Zavian Moore, a driver for Dawson Elementary, says “I feel good – I feel like we worked hard.”  Students are also required to work together closely as a team.  Stephanie Cordero, the project manager for Whitesburg P8, says that “you have to be really good at working together, because it’s a group effort.” 

Greenpower is a STEM based initiative that engages students by using these skills to design, build, and race an electric car.  Each team is given a strict set of guidelines and are required to use the same standard motor and batteries in the vehicle.  Greenpower USA is based in Huntsville, started in 2014 to expand STEM related education to students, and now has programs in nine states. Huntsville City Schools currently has 26 schools that have Greenpower programs, with race tracks at Jemison, Whitesburg, and a third track will be available this Fall at the new Grissom campus.  The Greenpower Initiative began in the United Kingdom in 1999, and now has programs in not only the U.S., but South Africa, China, and Poland.