Jun. 1—OXFORD — The Oxford High School Greenpower Team brought home its second consecutive national championship after competing with other teams from across the country at finals held at Talladega Superspeedway.
Two schools in the Calhoun County School district will soon be able to share in the excitement of participating in the program because of a grant awarded to Oxford by Alabama Power to help expand the program to more students in the area.
"In order to do this, we had to have schools who were willing to support the program with a teacher, interest in the program and a place to meet," Oxford spokesperson Lorie Denton said.
Those schools will be Ohatchee and Wellborn Elementary schools, whose fifth and sixth graders will have the opportunity to expand their skills while having some fun.
"It is amazing when you see this in action," Oxford Schools Superintendent Dr. Shannon Stanley said. "The teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving — they keep recalibrating and perfecting things and go on to win. I am excited for other school systems to have this opportunity.
"It's a great thing for the city of Oxford and Alabama Power to extend this to Calhoun County Schools, which will make our region even stronger."
Britt Young, Oxford Greenpower coach, said the program allows students to develop skills for the workplace.
"Oxford has had this program for six years and we have students in college right now seeking degrees in engineering, applied engineering, industrial magnets and business leadership," Young said. "The students have a great time racing but the real point of the program for us is workforce development."
Mayor Alton Craft said there are "some fantastic young people who deserve this chance."
"I knew if we could get some competition within our area the way other areas do, we could be developing aerospace engineers that will have what it takes to maybe have a spaceport of the future right here," Craft said.
Terry Smiley, Alabama Power Eastern Division vice president, said "this is what it's all about."
"It's an investment," Smiley said. "One of the things that is important to Alabama Power is education. It's the best investment we can make and when you talk about Greenpower, you are talking about skills in science, math, engineering and technology that will help our youth as they move forward. It's all about workforce development and that makes our community strong."
Young told The Anniston Star there were more than 600 middle and high school students present at the Talladega competition, with some that traveled from as far away as Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Texas
"Teams present had been competing all year to qualify for the event, where they would compete in two 90-minute race heats to see who would be able to go the farthest in electric race cars that they built themselves," Young said. "The teams battled hard against themselves, against each other, and against the heat, as asphalt temperatures rose above 136 degrees."
Oxford High School teams came into the event already ranked first in the Kit and Modified Divisions and were ranked second in the Custom Division.
After the Talladega national championship competition, Oxford Middle School placed second nationally in the Kit Division.
Oxford High School Placed second in both the Custom and Modified divisions, and they were named national champions in the Kit Division.