The Calera High School Engineering Team has won a competition for designing the best Basic Utility Vehicle for a third straight year. Calera High, the only high school in the competition, beat out nine colleges to take the title in the competition sponsored by the Institute for Affordable Transportation. The competition, which seeks designs of affordable BUV’s that can be used in impoverished areas of the world, was held in Indiana last week.
According to instructor Brian Copes, not only did Calera win the overall competition, but did so with 88.02 points out of a possible 98. Purdue University was second with 77.20 points. Calera’s team scored either first, second, or third in all 10 areas that were scored, which attributed to their overall high score of 88.02. Other teams in the competition included Trine University, University of Cincinnati (two teams), Alfred State College, University of Missouri, Calvin College, Northern Illinois University, and Miami University (Oxford, OH).
Copes said 14 college engineering college programs registered for the competition, but five of the teams did not complete their vehicle. Of the remaining teams, only half actually completed the competition. Calera’s team not only competed with a vehicle, but they constructed one in 4.5 hours. Construction of the BUV consisted of removing parts from a crate to driving the vehicle.
Will Austin with the Institute for Affordable Transportation said he is very impressed with the dedication and hard work of the Calera team.
“They have demonstrated a very focused effort for this project,” Austin said. “I don’t think you can ask for a better high school program to prepare these students for future careers in engineering or other career technical fields. The whole process of designing, building and testing a vehicle is the ultimate preparation for what they might encounter one day in the workforce. And not only are we teaching them to build these vehicles, but we are also getting students involved in global issues, such as fighting poverty.”
Copes, who previously taught at Chelsea Middle School, has had winning teams in the competition for five straight years.
“Chelsea Middle School took first in the open class at this event for two years in a row” Copes said. “Calera has placed first overall two of the three years competing and first in the open class the third year. Shelby County has demonstrated for five straight years that their students are competitive and are in line to become future engineers. This speaks highly of the potential future labor force.”
The Calera High School team is comprised of two 8th graders, six 10th graders, and two 11th graders. Team members include TJ Killingsworth, Kyle Brasher, John Killingsworth, Matt Templin, Korien Custard, Walter Jacobs, Aaron Smith, Lane Bryant, Austin Wright, Stephan Hand, and Brandon Stokes.