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Southlake Style

Liberty Christian Students Participate in World Solar Challenge

Oct 07, 2015 08:46AM ● By Audrey Sellers

Solar Car Team - Front Row: Heather Lytle, Kevin Wissink, Michael Becker, and Austin Hunt; Middle: Evan Hunt, Silas Hill, Gabe Bezner, Clayton Odom, and Sue Gallo; Back: Bary Willcox, Cameron Mutis, David Qian, Brayden Dragoo, Henry Harshfield, Cole Brolick, and Brent Dragoo. Not pictured: John Brolick

Only three high schools on the planet are competing in Australia’s World Solar Challenge, and Liberty Christian School will be in the race. Liberty Christian’s Solis Bellator (Sun Warrior) team departs October 8 for the 1,800-mile race across the outback from Darwin to Adelaide.

“Being a part of a race on a different continent is a phenomenal opportunity to learn the culture and the global aspect of education,” said Dr. Brent Dragoo, teacher and sponsor, in a press release. “It will be invaluable to simply be around university teams, learn about the organizations there, and see the construction of the other cars competing.”

Teams from as far away as Japan, Turkey, Germany, South Korea, China, Singapore, United Kingdom, Poland, Hungry, Chile, Belgium, South Africa, Malaysia and Thailand will be competing in the race.

“Our solar car program continues to thrive,” said Dr. Dragoo. “In addition to hands-on academics, students are growing in their confidence, decision-making ability and leadership skills.”

The World Solar Car Challenge began in 1982 when solar pioneers Hans Tholstrup and Larry Perkins embarked on a quest that would see them drive a home-built solar car, Quiet Achiever, across Australia from west to east. Inspired by this achievement and his own pioneering vision, Hans urged others to explore the boundaries of sun-powered transport. And so the World Solar Challenge was born.

Inaugurated in 1987 with pioneer sponsor, the South Australian Tourism Commission, the World Solar Challenge continues to showcase the development of advanced automotive technology and promote alternatives to conventional vehicle engines.

Today, while solar cars test the ultimate boundaries of energy efficiency, they also provide incredible insight into the capabilities of everyday vehicle technology. These innovations are at the heart of all electric cars, whether that power comes from hydrogen fuel cells, hybrid engines or even fully-electric commuter cars that draw power from solar cells on the garage roof – they all use the technology that is continually honed to perfection in the World Solar Challenge.

Utilizing no more than six square meters of solar panels, some of the world’s brightest young minds are on track to develop the most efficient electric vehicles possible. And every two years, teams from leading international universities and technical institutes, together with private entrepreneurs, come together Down Under to test and promote the ultimate synergy of nature, motion, and innovation. 

“We are extremely grateful to our Liberty administrators who believe with us that the opportunity to be part of a global race has learning implications that simply can’t be learned in the classroom,” Dr. Dragoo added. “The students making this trip are definitely in for the adventure of a lifetime. 

“We couldn’t be making this trip without help from our sponsors, which include Peterbilt, CoServ, and numerous Liberty families.”

Along with Dr. Dragoo, Science Department Chair Heather Lytle, teachers Sue Gallo, Evan Hunt, and Bary Willcox, and parent John Brolick will travel on the trip. Student and team manager Clayton Odom will also participate, along with fellow classmates Gabe Bezner, Michael Becker, Cole Brolick, Brayden Dragoo, Henry Harshfield, Silas Hill, Austin Hunt, Cameron Mutis, David Qian and Kevin Wissink.