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Goshen students spend spring break readying cars for upcoming competition

Two high-efficiency prototype cars, built by students, are almost ready for an international contest this month.

Posted on April 7, 2014 at 8:44 p.m.

The lure of no school didn't keep some Goshen students from the classroom on Monday, April 7 — the first day of spring break.

By 11 a.m., students in the Super Mileage class were hard at work on two prototype high-efficiency cars. In just about two weeks, these small, oddly-shaped machines will be hurtling through the streets of Houston in an international competition. 

Problem is, one of the cars is only about 95 percent complete according to Goshen teacher J.J. Johnson.

He has no doubt the cars will be ready in time though.

"This could be a big year for Goshen," he said. "We will probably hit 1,000 miles per gallon this year."

The highest miles per gallon a Goshen car has ever achieved is 728, a record the school has held for three years. At the contest, students' cars will be judged on how much fuel they burn in a 10-lap run, among other things.

And though it's tempting to make the cars look snazzy, Johnson said he told students this year to go for performance. 

Cars in the competition are all designed differently, because the design comes from the students' heads. 

"No one is going off the same mold or the same pattern," Johnson said. "A lot of it depends on what kind of connection you can make to get your materials."

Companies that donate materials are excited about what the Super Mileage kids are learning, he said. This could be what students do for work someday, he added. 

Cameron Gruntman, a junior, created a new steering mechanism for one of the cars. The new design means students can change a flat tire quicker and it also gives the driver a little more leg space.

The group is hoping to win a technical innovation award for Gruntman's design. 

Even if they don't win, working on the cars is just fun, said freshman Derick Schmucker. 

Students don't mind coming in at 6 or 7 a.m. to work before school starts, and they've even come in on days school was cancelled this winter because of the cold, Johnson said. 

"This teaches you more than just building the cars," Mitchell Watts, a senior, said on Monday.  "It teaches work ethics, problem-solving...(Johnson) is making us work to solve the problem."

Goshen will be competing in the Shell Eco-marathon on April 25-27. Two other local schools, Fairfield and Northridge, also have Super Mileage teams and will be competing in contests this year.

Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks




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