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Dedication, commitment and integrity have propelled a team of Greenville High School students to multiple championships, says Joel Pitts, a Farmers Electric Cooperative member and advisor of the school’s solar car team, which hopes to notch another win at this year’s Solar Car Challenge, July 17–23.
Since 2012, the Greenville Iron Lions have designed and built solar-powered cars to compete in the annual race that attracts high school teams from across continental North America and the Caribbean. Greenville’s first win came in 2016 in a cross-country race from Fort Worth to Mendota Heights, Minnesota, where it beat the nearest competitor in its division by more than 121 miles. The following year, in closed-track events at the Texas Motor Speedway, it placed first in two divisions.
The Iron Lions are currently re-engineering some aspects of their car, which they hope will lead the pack in this year’s 1,400-mile race, from Fort Worth to Palmdale, California. “I think our chances are really good,” Pitts says.
But competition goes beyond getting to the winner’s podium, he says. It’s also about providing students with lifelong skills and fostering their growth through problem-solving. “Because ultimately, this project is not so much about winning than it is about the learning process.”