Inspire Academy ready to host large Greenpower event

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The Inspire Academy high school and middle school teams are hosting a Greenpower racing event on Oct. 1. The event is expected to have a turnout of at least 250 people, including the nine other competing schools making the trek to Chambers County. 

Dr. Tyler Nelson, principal of Inspire Academy, hopes that the program engages students in their academic pursuits with hands-on experience. Through this project, his students should be able to build skills that can be critical to employability.

“It helps build relevance in their learning,” Nelson said. “They can take what they learned in their math, science and engineering classes and use it.”

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Students are solely responsible for building the car and adjusting it to meet standards so that they can perform. This way, they use what they’ve learned in their math and engineering classes and apply it to a practical project.

“The teachers sit back and watch,” Nelson said. “We answer their questions with other questions.”

Once they get their car built, the students also have to make sure the vehicle can last the length of the race. Because the cars are run by electricity, the students use data gathering skills learned in engineering class to determine how best to keep their cars on the track. 

“It’s about more than just who’s first,”’ Nelson said. “It’s also about how long they can go on one battery charge.”

Racing to the finish line, the student teams are developing skills that put them ahead of the game. The program produces high school graduates “with levels of advanced manufacturing and engineering project management experience rarely found in the K-12 educational landscape,” according to Greenpower USA Foundation.

Inspire Academy usually hosts two racing competitions a year. For this event, there will be four races. The middle school team will start the day off at 8:30 a.m. and the high school team will have their finale from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Nelson encourages the public to come out to support the students. 

Solv Energy and the Valley Parks and Recreation are sponsors for the Inspire Academy teams. Nelson hopes that the program can promote the local workforce by creating skilled workers within the community. 

“Many of the skills that are associated with this program are also the skills needed for jobs here in Chambers County with high wages, high skills and high demands,” Nelson said. “Right now a lot of those jobs are going to people living outside of Chambers.” 

The ultimate goal of the program is to be able to introduce students in the Greenpower racing program to the workforce.

“We’re always accepting new members, so if their kids are interested, parents should tell them to talk to their counselors about joining,” Nelson said.