Middle and high school students from all over the South gathered in LaGrange, Georgia last Saturday to participate in the 1st Annual Diverse Power Grand Prix.
The competition was sponsored by Greenpower USA, a Huntsville, Alabama non-profit organization that facilitates the teaching of a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education in classrooms through the use of electric race cars.
Students are able to enroll in a Greenpower elective where they are tasked with the building, maintenance, decoration, and marketing of a race car.
They are then able to compete in competitions like the Diverse Power Grand Prix where they are given the opportunity to showcase their race car and compete in a variety of events.
Over 30 teams traveled to LaGrange to compete.
All three Troup County public middle schools – Callaway Middle School, Gardner Newman Middle School, and Long Cane Middle School – attended the competition. Gardner Newman Middle School’s racing team – the G Masters – placed second in the Intermediate Kit at the competition and competed in the single seat care race.
“We are so proud of the kids. It takes a lot to get here. They all did a great job in fixing the cars, working together, and just overall sportsmanship,” said teacher sponsor of the Gardner Newman G Masters Marilyn Huberdeau.
Long Cane Middle School’s racing team – Cougar Strong Racing – placed first overall in presentation and endurance for the #999 car and placed first in the pit crew challenge. They also competed in the single seat care race.
6th grade student Payde Akins played a large role in helping her team secure 1st place. Akins was initially unaware of what she had done, but once she was given the good news by her teammates, she couldn’t contain her excitement.
“I am so excited. Oh my gosh! I can’t believe it,” said Akins as she was embraced by her teammates.
In addition to her 1st place finish, Akins also had something else to be excited about. All participants at the event were awarded a $2,500 scholarship to LaGrange College, adding up to $750,000 worth of scholarship money given to students.
“LaGrange College is a college that is very devoted to the STEM programs that all your young people are studying in this particular venue with the race,” LaGrange College President Dan McAlexander said on Friday. Alexander added that LaGrange College has invested over $21 million in STEM education over the past 3 years.