Palmdale High School solar car heading to Fort Worth

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Photograph by Linda KC Reynolds

Students from Palmdale High School don’t mind tooting their own horn when it comes to their three-wheel creation that will soon be traveling to Fort Worth, Texas, to compete in the National Solar Car Challenge at the Texas Motor Speedway,  July 17-23.

Palmdale High School was the only private school in California that was accepted for the challenge.

“It’s not about winning, it’s about working with others to accomplish something really cool,” said Tina Brandon, a senior and co- CEO of the project.

Last year when she started working with the organization, she thought that she wanted to be a lawyer. She had no clue about engineering.   “I bounced around a bit but when I took Mr. I’s class in Principals of Engineering, I learned so much; now I want to go to MIT and become a mechanical engineer.” Harnessing energy from the oceans is one of her ambitions.

Palmdale chemistry and engineering teacher Antek Ignatowicz is also the head adviser for the solar car team. His students call him Mr. I and work long days on the project. “I wanted to choose a project that kids could really get excited about and create something that is on the leading edge of technology.  I hope they really know how amazing this is and that they could very well become a part of something huge. We have had a great time and learn a lot,” said Ignatowicz.

The students have even greater goals for next year’s car—to include a body made of composite materials. Scaled Composites heard about the project and has already pledged help, which will also give the students experience in working with composites.  Students continue to look for sponsors to help defray expenses. To donate or support the team:  http://phssolarcar.weebly.com, www.solarcarchallenge.org.