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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Kerry-Ann Hamilton
Media Relations Manger
k_hamilton@howard.edu
202.238.2332

Howard University Middle School Solar Car Teams Dominate Regional Championship


Photographs by Kerry-Ann Hamilton
(MS)2 Solar Car Club coach Kethurah Williams, Ph. D., and the winning team members Michael Seward, Myles Reed and Azriel Sassar.


Washington (May 27, 2010) – While most middle school teenagers are spending their last few days of classes daydreaming about summer fun, six students at the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science (MS)² still find themselves studying hard and working on projects that involve solar energy, engineering and mechanics.

For the third consecutive year, the (MS)² solar car teams have advanced to the Northeast Junior Solar Car Sprint Championship. The school sent four teams to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship in Howard County, Md. The teams won first and third place overall. The school’s teams have dominated the regional competition for the last three years, but this year they have their eyes fixed on the championship trophy.

Before assembling a single solar panel, the students get weeks of intense lessons on the fundamentals of physics.

“Many faculty members answered the call to teach the club members not only about solar energy, but also mechanical energy, electrical energy, engineering and even nuclear energy,” said Kethurah Williams, Ph.D., chair of Science and Solar Car Club Coach. “The students had to do research and a lot of reading to gain a better understanding of what it was they were doing.”

The first place team consists of team leader and founding member Michael Seward,13, Azriel Sassar,14, and Myles Reed, 12.

The cars are judged based on the speed and design. The first place car, Phoenix, according to Seward, “was modeled after a bird in order to be more aerodynamic.” He added, “the less weight, the better.”


Due to a crash at the finish line, the “Hard Luck” Award was given to one of the (MS)2 teams and their car Dynasty. Louis Farrakhan III, team leader of Dynasty, was among other teammates who won accolades for their team spirit and sportsmanship at the competition.

Sassar recalls the first time he realized he was interested in technology, “I was in a summer camp when I was eight years old and we would build life-like cities.” Like their teammate, Seward and Farrakhan have always been interested in building things, but were surprised at their skills and growing interest in mechanics and energy.

Next year, Seward and Sassar will attend McKinley Technology Senior High School
and Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, respectively, and plan to return to their alma mater to mentor and coach the future (MS)² teams.

Image on Right - Seward and Sassar adjust the battery and solar panel on their car, Phoenix.

Image on Left - “Hard Luck” Award recipient, Louis Farrakhan III, 13, with the original and improved model of his car, Dynasty.

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Tamila Myles, media relations intern, penned this release.

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