Contributed by Mrs. Cheryl Parker, Principal, The Main Street Academy
We began our Green Power journey at the start of the 2018-2019 school year. Twelve middle school students were chosen to spearhead the first racing team. We were extremely happy to be selected for this great opportunity, shortly after our first team meeting, we adopted the name the TMSA Bolts. From there, the challenges and hard-work of assembling our car began. We could not wait! However, we were met with several difficulties. Our car was placed on back order and we were told we would not have it until November. We were disappointed at the thought of not being able to begin right away, but we were not deterred. We focused our energy instead into completing other tasks, as directed by our coach.
We understood that a massive project like this would require a significant amount of money, so we turned our attention to fund-raising. Our first expenditure was a Back-to-School dance for students in our elementary school. We made fliers, scripted an announcement to be made over the school’s PA system, shopped for the snacks that were needed for the concession stand and even made posters to hang throughout our school building. Each team member was assigned a specific duty, and everyone came through. Our final profit tally for the dance was well over $1,000. We had the beginnings of a bank account firmly established. Over the course of the next couple of months, we held another dance, opened our Snack Shack, so that teachers and students could enjoy a light treat throughout the day, and started our very own Go-Fund-Me page. Although we were excited of past financial accomplishment, we were still missing an important component: the CAR! In the mean time we made a trip to Alabama to see a race, this trip really excites us, and made us determined to get to work on this car, so we could be ready for the next race. We also visited Long Cane Middle school, who rolled out the red carpet for us, we even ate burgers. The opportunity to be up close and personal with a successful team was most helpful.
By early January, our coach informed us that our car was on its way. After months of asking and asking with no satisfactory answer finally, there was light. The anticipation and excitement throughout our team was huge. We put the finishing touches on our “work room” which was a storage closet formally used to house testing materials. We hung up a banner with our team name and logo, strung some race flags from the ceiling and set up a couple of tables for future tool boxes and supplies.
A couple of weeks later, on January 17, 2019, our “car” finally arrived. It showed up on a crate with several boxes wrapped together. Our principal was extremely and excited that our car had arrived, it was indeed a momentous event. We were nervous but excited. We loaded up our elevator, grabbed what we could in our hands and took our vehicle to the work room to begin the arduous task of putting these pieces together.
As we began to assemble the vehicle, it became clear that this was no easy task. Our first step of putting the frame together did not come so easily. Many of the parts simply were not aligned and required the team to be a little creative. We took several ideas from support staff and each other to problem solve. At times in that tiny closet, it was difficult to maneuver without bumping into each other. Our coach suggested that different group of guys work on different task, with even a group right outside the door reading blue print. Because we were only allowed one hour per week based on school schedule. Our coach was willing to stay after school and on Saturdays to get the job done. Our goal was to have this car running before Spring break. We did it!
We are proud to say that after three short months, many long work days and several hours of man power, our Green Power car is running. It has been a difficult ride and one that we hope will end at the Alabama race in May! We are proud to be the first South Atlanta school building an electric car.