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Career Tech Center looking at electric car competition

LaFAYETTE — If they can just get a timely push from the folks in the local area, students from the Chambers County Career Technical Center will be able to go to an elite international electric car competition.

The topic was discussed at Wednesday afternoon’s monthly meeting of the Chambers County Board of Education.

The CTC’s electrathon team has qualified to represent the State of Alabama at the Ten80 National STEM League Finals to be held in Troy, N.Y. To make the trip, they will have to have $24,000 to cover costs. Thanks to some successful local fundraising and support from parents and friends, they have raised around $23,000. That’s good, but it’s still $1,000 short, and if they don’t get that by Monday they won’t be able to go.

Superintendent Dr. Kelli Hodge said she’d donate $250. That drops the needed amount to $750.

“I am so proud of what they are doing,” she said. “On Saturday, they competed with teams from all over the state and from big schools in well-to-do communities. They came in first place. It was amazing how many people were there. It’s just like NASCAR, but the cars are battery powered.”

“This is an awesome program for the students,” said Board Member Chris Busby. “It will be great for them and our community if they can go.”

CTC instructor Seth Stehouwer, who advises the team, said that the national finals will be a very challenging event this year with the competition being strengthened by teams from around the world. “China will have three teams in it,” he said.

This will be the fifth straight year a Chambers County CTC team has been in the national finals. The previous four events were closer to home.

“If we have the money we need by Monday, we will be able to go,” Stehouwer said. “We will be there one week from today (or Wednesday, April 25th).”

The teams from the Huntsville area are very difficult to compete with. They have assistance from NASA scientists in the area who are pretty good at building things that move fast and hold up under difficult conditions. They also have ways of coming up with hard-to-get parts like the ones that are made from titanium.

Anyone who would like to make a donation to help the team get to New York can contact the Career Technical Center at (334) 864-8863 for details.