By Kim Underwood
One team made
the frame for its go-cart out of bamboo. Another team powered
its cart with a starter motor from an airplane. A third team fueled
its cart with used french-fry oil.
like french fries when we turn it on," said Logan Maxwell, a student
at the Career Center.
team at the Go Green Go Kart Competition at the Career Center
yesterday had in common was the drive to make the best "green"
cart they could. Teams had the option of going electric, or using
biodiesel, ethanol or methanol as fuel.
frame for their cart out of bamboo probably took more work than
making one out of steel would have been, said Ian Hill of Team
Bamboozled, but he and the other members liked the idea of going
green with the frame as well.
All but three
of the 12 teams were associated with the Career Center. The other
teams were from Reagan High School, Carter Vocational High School
and the School of Pre-Engineering at Atkins High School.
sat at the wheel of the electric car designed and built by a team
of juniors in the automotive-technology class at the Career Center.
How was he
picked to be the driver?
one who could follow instructions," said Johnny Dixon, the teacher
advising the team.
included young women as well as young men, and one of the Career
Center teams had also chosen to go light by putting Kaylie Chrismon
behind the wheel for the timed trials.
put together their carts on limited budgets. A junked car starter,
a dolly, a junked diesel engine from a generator and wheels from
a lawn mower were among the parts that ended up on one cart or
"We did a
lot with a little," said Aidan McCaul, a member of the Atkins
team. "We all worked real hard on it."
the teacher advising the Atkins team, said that the project had
benefits beyond designing and building the cart. To raise money
to build their electric cart, team members wrote letters to a
number of companies asking for support. Their efforts paid off.
Brad's Golf Carts provided a golf-cart motor and other support,
and other companies came through as well.
a ninth-grader at Atkins, said he learned a lot about the value
of taking the time to do things right.
about teamwork, too.
who dropped by to see her son Logan's team in action, said: "I
feel like he has learned how to work with other kids who have
good ideas, too. They have to come to a consensus about what is
best for the team. It's a lot of creative people working together,
and that's not always easy."
each team time to practice on a course set up in a parking lot,
each team was timed as the driver drove the cart around the circuit
three times. Although times were posted, there were no official
winners, and when a drive chain or wheel fell off -- as happened
more than once -- a team was given the opportunity to fix the
problem and take another go.
the carts had kill switches so that they could be stopped in case
of trouble, the throttle on one cart stuck and a photographer
with the Winston-Salem Journal ended up with some bruises and
scrapes as she jumped out of the way.
was the only person injured, said Dennis Moser, the principal
at the Career Center.
a teacher at the Career Center and one of the organizers of the
competition, said that, as far as they knew, they were the only
high school in the state staging such a competition. Bennett and
the others said that they hope this becomes an annual activity
that comes to draw high-school teams from all over the state.
grew out of the Alternative Energy Club at the Career Center,
and that, in turn, grew out of parking-lot duty last fall for
Career Center teachers Kai Ehnes and Bill Longyard. Both drive
vehicles powered by biodiesel, and one day they got to talking
about how satisfying it would be to encourage young people to
explore the future of alternative energy. They established the
club. Ehnes said they also hope to establish a class on alternative
energy at the Career Center.
that the man who invented the jet engine, Hans von Ohain, was
young when he came up with a design using existing technology,
and, with that example in mind, he thinks that young people have
just as good a chance as anyone to come up with creative solutions.
who came to town from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
for the competition, agreed.
"I don't think
there is an age restriction on making discoveries," Colton said.
"It's really about creativity."
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