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Sussex and Morris County Students Participate in Junior Solar Sprints

Jennifer Jean Miller

Thursday, May 16, 2013 • 10:11pm

HARDYSTON, NJ - Sussex County students, and a few from Morris County, gathered at the Hardyston Middle School on Tuesday, May 14, for the Division 2 Race of the Junior Solar Sprints, coordinated by TransOptions. 

The competition, which is comprised of five different races, then concludes with an Inter-County Final Race, held in Florham Park. 
 
The event is free for students to participate in, and is sponsored by: Alcoa (Primary Sponsor), Thorlabs, First Energy Foundation, The New Jersey Herald, and Avis-Budget.
 
Each student team entered receives a kit from TransOptions, containing the components for a solar car, including a motor, wheels, axles, and solar panel. From there, the teams design their vehicles. 
 
On the day of the race, the cars head down 66-foot parallel tracks for the speed portion of the contest. From there, each unit is reviewed by judges for engineering, craftsmanship, best use of recycled materials, and documentation portfolio. There is also a Student Choice Award, which gives the students a chance to judge their favorite car. 
 
The participating teams included: Halsted Middle School (Newton), Franklin Elementary School, Hamburg Middle School, Hardyston Middle School, Jefferson Township Middle School, Kittatinny Regional High School (Hampton), McKeown School (Hampton), Mother of Divine Grace (Andover), Ogdensburg School, Sparta Middle School, Star Dust Home Schoolers (Newton), Stillwater School, Sussex Christian School, Sussex County Charter School, Willowglen Academy (Sparta), Morris Plains Borough School, Randolph Middle School, and Ridgedale Avenue School (Florham Park).
 
"This is a new venue for us, it's really nice," said Joseph Caravella, Environmental Programs Manager for TransOptions of the new race location at Hardyston Middle School. 
 
Caravella noted the location was conducive to allow the students to sit in the grass and relax in between races. 
 
"There is a lot more room to spread out," he added.
 
Caravella said this year there were more parents at the race than in the past. 
 
Dave Chenard was one of those parents. Chernard also works for Thorlabs as an Export Compliance Administrator. He had the opportunity to be a judge, and also watch his son, Matt, participate. 
 
"It's my first time involved," Chenard said. "I learned a lot. It's very interesting. The kids are so creative. Some kids put a lot of effort into it."
 
Chenard's son Matt was one of a few sixth graders on the YORO (an acronym for "You Only Race Once") Team from McKeown School, along with Donna Gonzales, Jasmin Borgonia,  and Katelyn Poole. 
 
"We only lost once," said Borgonia at the time of the interview. 
 
The team ended up in one of the final heats. 
 
The teammates spoke about the car. 
 
"It's made of recycled materials, so it's eco-friendly," said Gonzales. "We made it so it's light, so it catches up speed. We made it for speed, not design."
 
Borgonia also explained the team greased up the car's gears so it would move faster. 
 
James Hofmann of the Halsted Middle School, who also coaches the Newton Robotics Team, came to the event with about six teams.
 
"We've got a good group, we're all having fun," Hofmann said. 
 
The winners of the events were as follows:
 
Speed
 
1st Place – “110%” – McKeown School – Rayna Butler, Ryan Pollison, Kevin Murphy, Matt Kowalski
 
2nd Place  - “Tree” – Stillwater School - Matt Cleaver, Sabrina Leonard
 
3rd Place – “Da Bomb” – Halsted Middle School – William Kimberly, Kevin Conway
 
 
 
Engineering
 
1st  Place – “Flower Power 2” – Ogdensburg – RandilLyn Hornyak, Allyson Lame, Rebecca Shepard, Gabriella Ciasullo
 
2nd Place – “Silver Star” – Star Dust Home School - Hunter Gallo
 
3rd Place – “Twitter” – Ogdensburg – Scott Mueller, Alejandro Rojas, Audrey Janosko, Rebecca Bradner
 
 
Craftsmanship
 
1st Place  - “Monster” – Sussex Christian School – Janel Faber
 
2nd Place – “Twitter” – Ogdensburg - Scott Mueller, Alejandro Rojas, Audrey Janosko, Rebecca Bradner
 
3rd Place – “Pride Rock” – McKeown School – Hannah MacMillan, Kathryn Merrill, Katrina Fernandez, Jada Guido
 
 
Best Use of Recycled Materials
 
1st Place – “Recycled Racer” – Mother of Devine Grace School – Stephen Furtkevic, John Peter Zappe
 
2nd Place – “Twitter” – Ogdensburg - Scott Mueller, Alejandro Rojas, Audrey Janosko, Rebecca Bradner
 
3rd Place – “Flower Power 2” – Ogdensburg - RandilLyn Hornyak, Allyson Lame, Rebecca Shepard, Gabriella Ciasullo
 
 
Documentation Portfolio (does not move on to the Inter-County Final)
 
1st Place – “Silver Star” – Star Dust Home School – Hunter Gallo
 
2nd Place – “Team M.E.L.K.” – Sparta Middle School – Kada Cernek, Mikey Botta, Lia Gaccione, Emily Argula
 
3rd Place –  Team Coastal Babes” – Sparta Middle School – Isabel Passerini, Brianna Lamoureux, Jeremy Dericks, Juliana McGuire
 
 
 
Students’ Choice (does not move on to the Inter-County Final)
 
1st Place – “Pride Rock” – McKeown School - Hannah MacMillan, Kathryn Merrill, Katrina Fernandez, Jada Guido
 
2nd Place – “Flower Power 2” – Ogdensburg - RandilLyn Hornyak, Allyson Lame, Rebecca Shepard, Gabriella Ciasullo
 
3rd Place – “Tree” – Stillwater School – Matt Cleaver, Sabrina Leonard
 
 
 
Additional Speed teams moving on:
 
“Terminator 2” – McKeown
 
“Jelly” – Stillwater
 
“YORO” McKeown
 
“Hot Rodney” - Halsted
 
 
 
According to TransOptions, teams winning in Speed, Craftsmanship, Engineering and Best Use of Recycled Materials will advance to the Inter-County Final competition. That competition is scheduled for May 28 (rain date May 30) to be held at Ridgedale Middle School.
 
 
 

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