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BRATTLEBORO — The sun shone down on the first Junior Solar Sprint that was hosted by Bonnyvale Environmental Education Saturday at Living Memorial Park.

Middle school students from Brattleboro Area Middle School, Marlboro, the Compass School, Dummerston, and Chesterfield, N.H., designed and built from scratch their own cars that were powered by a small solar panel and motor. On Saturday, a competition was held in which each vehicle was judged by fastest, most interesting and best-crafted solar-vehicle.

The process of constructing these cars includes engineering skills and principles of science and math, according to a press release, while students develop teamwork and problem-solving abilities, understanding the potential of solar energy and gaining hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills.

Junior Solar Sprint is a national event that has been running for about 40 years. This was the first time for the event in this area, and organizers hope it will continue.

The event was directed by BEEC board member Mary Grove, a retired middle school teacher.

Belle Coles, BEEC board president, said the program is intended to get students involved in a STEM activity that will benefit them in solar energy, awareness of climate control, community involvement, mechanics and science. The solar cars could be made of any materials, and be of the student’s own design, but all used the same type of motor and solar panel.

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Trophies were awarded:

1st place speed — “Solar Express” made by Zephran and Crystal from the Compass school.

2nd place speed — “Georgina” made by Skylar and Maisie from the Dummerston school.

Creative Engineering Award — “Nissan” made by Sawyer and Brody from the Bellows Falls school.

Kids Choice Award — “Rocketman” made by Hononra, Chloe, Naneh and Avah from Marlboro school.

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