This past weekend has been a long but rewarding experience for the three high schools from Bossier along with one other high school team from north Louisiana. These four teams traveled to Houston, Texas to compete in the Shell Eco-marathon from March 30-April 1.  The Shell Eco-marathon competition challenged 99 high school and college student teams from the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil to design, build and test energy efficient vehicles. 

“Our team accomplished our goal of beating last year’s record.  This year, our team achieved 672 miles per gallon.  My students are very aware of the importance of creating new technologies to support conservation. The Shell Eco-marathon is a wonderful educational platform,” said Marvin Nelson, teacher and team lead of Benton High School.  

Jason Porter, a student on Benton High School’s team says “The electronics of our car are controlled by the micro-controller that we first used in our school” through programs developed through collaboration between Louisiana Tech University and the Cyber Innovation Center.  June Valeton, teacher from Airline High School said, “These students have done wonderful.  We have learned a lot and are already planning for next year’s competition.”

Four high schools that were sponsored by the Cyber Innovation Center participated in the Shell Eco-marathon this past weekend.  Each successfully ran the Shell Eco-marathon.  In the competition of Prototype (Gasoline category), Benton High School placed 14th at 672 mpg, a joint team from Airline and Haughton high schools placed 23rd at 230 mpg and North DeSoto High School placed 28th at 94 mpg.  Parkway High School competed in the Battery Electric category, and placed 19th overall at 34 miles per kilowatt-hour.  Louisiana Tech and the CIC hosted a weekend workshop in December 2011 for the schools to give the high school teams the opportunity to learn from the university teams that have been so successful. 

Louisiana Tech University came home champions. They took home four awards overall, including setting the new record in the Urban Concept (Diesel category) at 488.7 mpg. Louisiana Tech also competed in and placed 2nd in Urban Concept (Gasoline category) at 231.2 mpg. Tech won the Best Design and the Team Spirit competitions.

Dr. Heath Tims, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and one of the team’s faculty advisors shared, “I couldn’t be more proud of our team and the way they have represented us. Even as we competed and worked to correct problems with our cars, we were still assisting other teams, especially the high schools from Louisiana that competed in this year’s event.”

“Project-driven educational experiences are critical for engaging today’s students,” shared  G.B. Cazes, Vice-President of Cyber Innovation Center. “It’s why the Cyber Innovation Center integrates these types of competitions and experiences into our curricula. It’s competitions like the Shell Eco-marathon that allow our students to showcase their problem-solving skill.”