PASADENA – A team from John Muir High School’s Engineering & Environmental Sciences Academy bested more experienced teams from schools in La Cañada, Arcadia, La Puente and Duarte to win the regional championship at the annual Solar Cup race held at Lake Skinner on May 13, the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) announced today.
With the help of teachers, CalTech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) mentors, students designed and built a solar-powered boat that, captained by Muir High School seniors Miguel Reyes, Camille Navata, and Arianna Villafuerte, placed first in sprint and endurance races. Their boat topped at 48 seconds for the sprint, which tests speed, and completed nine laps in 90 minutes in the endurance race.
This is the first time that Muir High School has placed in the race. Located in northwest Pasadena, 76 percent of Muir High School’s students are socio-economically disadvantaged.
“I hope that other students will be inspired to study engineering and science,” said Reyes, who plans to major in physics at Cal Poly Pomona next fall. “Building and racing a solar-powered boat as a class project showed us that we can be engineers, scientists and physicists.”
The come-from-behind Solar Cup victory symbolizes the remarkable turnaround of Muir High School, which was identified as a low-performing school by the state and placed in the federal program improvement four years ago for failing to meet state and federal academic progress requirements.
“This victory demonstrates that when educators, parents, business, and the community work together towards meeting the learning and social needs of students, we can accomplish great things, and really impact young lives,” said Superintendent Edwin Diaz.
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