Tuesday November 10 was a regular West Philly Hybrid X Team meeting date. It was typical in many ways. I walked in the building at the end of the school day to hear the list of students who had detention being read over the loud speaker. Attendance at the meeting would be down or at best delayed.
A number of other Team members cruised through the shop on their way to credit recovery in the main building. Credit recovery does not refer to the financial crisis. It refers to going to class after school when you failed a class (or more) in the prior semester. More kids would be very late to the meeting.
Grades go in at the end of this week, so a few more kids remained upstairs working with their Spanish teacher to do the best that they can on their report cards. After all, we check report cards every quarter and poor performance effects who gets to travel with the Team. Check off a few more absentees.
We also had kids missing for illness, suspension and sibling duties. Somehow or the other we mustered a core group for the meeting. It was a good thing, because Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky was visiting to research a column she wrote about us that appears in today’s paper. Here’s the link: City high-school kids best MIT in $10M car contest.
Kids spoke to Ronnie about why they joined the Team and what they like about working on the cars. We got our picture taken. We finished writing a bunch of thank you notes and signing letters to supporters. Students who will be speaking at the National Superintendents Roundtable this weekend worked on their speeches.
We had nutritionally poor drinks and snacks.
Ron Preiss and Simon had a bunch of kids in the shop working of the hybrid drive for the Focus. This, too, is typical. The drive comes in and out of the car, gets taken apart and put back together, refined and refreshed all the time.
The missing team members returned from their various assignments and it was almost time to go. We have much to do in our not so typical after school quest to win $10 million dollars. We’ll keep you posted.
The ExxonMobil Foundation handed over a check for $25,000 to the West Philadelphia Automotive Academy to help in their pursuit of the coveted prize.
"I think these kids are amazing. We saw some interesting vehicles. We talked with the kids about the idea of how they can produce fuel efficient vehicles that get 100mpg in a very environmentally friendly manner," said Gerald McElvy, President of ExxonMobil Foundation.
The West High students are building 2 super efficient, super fast hybrid vehicles. The Ford Focus hybrid can go from one to sixty in less than 12 seconds and gets over 100 miles per gallon. It's safer than other hybrids, more affordable and uses off the shelf technology made in America.