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CAS High School Students Win State Championship in the Racing the Sun Solar Go Kart Challenge

Kneeling--Mr. Oh! and Mr. Dolifka; Left to Right--Kurtis Daniels, Brennan Townsend, Cynthia Ruvalcaba, Makenzi Cushman, Brandy Skattebo, Jeff Bradford, Sara Sizemore & Andrew Sizemore.

Kneeling–Mr. Oh! and Mr. Dolifka; Left to Right–Kurtis Daniels, Brennan Townsend, Cynthia Ruvalcaba, Makenzi Cushman, Brandy Skattebo, Jeff Bradford, Sara Sizemore & Andrew Sizemore

On Saturday, April 30th, high school students from the Center for Academic (CAS) in Sierra Vista brought home the state championship trophy for this year’s Racing the Sun (RTS) solar go kart races. Not only did they win the championship based on most overall points, they also won in every race they participated.  The program is run by the UofA Tech Park and involved 20 different arcing karts from 14 schools from around the state.

The students, under the direction of teachers Jeff (Mr. Oh!) Ofstedahl and Dave Dolifka, designed and built two solar-powered go karts this year and raced in two different divisions: Standard Kart and Modified Kart. In both divisions, they also won first place for fastest lap and also in the endurance race – which is completing the most laps in 20 minutes. The races were held at the Muscleman Honda Circuit track south of Tucson.

Team Member, Sara S., races around the track in one of the CAS team's go karts

Team Member, Sara S., races around the track in one of the CAS team’s solar go karts

Racing the Sun is a solar go-kart competition for high school students organized and hosted by Tech Parks Arizona, headquartered in Tucson, Arizona. High school participants from throughout the state fundraise, design, and build go-karts powered by solar photovoltaics. The purpose of the program is to help high school students develop STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) skills. The program runs concurrent with the school year. Throughout the building process, students utilize problem solving skills, apply STEM concepts in the real world, and gain experience applying solar power technology. In addition, students develop teamwork and entrepreneurial skills. During the program participants are mentored by industry and academic experts.

This was CAS’s second year competing in RTS events. Last year, they designed, built and raced one go kart and came in third place in the Standard Kart division.

CAS Solar Go Kart Team poses with their trophies

CAS Solar Go Kart Team poses with their trophies

“I’m so proud of the kids!” beamed Ofstedahl. “They worked so hard all year and their efforts really paid off.” The students start working on their karts, business plans, and fundraising plans at the beginning of the school year,” Ofstedahl explained. They also have to meet RTS deadlines throughout the year to include turning in their annual project plan, mechanical plans and electrical diagrams. In the process, he said, they are learning about how solar power works, how to wire electronic components, how to weld and build a chassis, as well as all the safety issues that go with the processes. The Solar Go Kart Team is an after school club which meets for three hours every Friday.

CAS Makenzi Driving

Neck and neck with another driver, CAS Team Member, Makenzi C., races to the finish line

Student Quotes:

“I learned that simplicity is the best way to go about things.” – Kurtis Daniels, Senior

“It took what we learned in the classroom and applied it to real life.” – Brandy Skattebo, Senior

“As Engineering Students we learned how to use our knowledge from the classroom and turn it into skills to help with the Go-Cart.” – Brandy Skattebo, Senior

“There were many new things many of us would never have experienced; Such as welding, soldering, electrical circuits, and how solar energy works.” – Brandy Skattebo, Senior

“I learned how solar panels work and mechanical engineering works into this matter.” – Cynthia Ruvalcaba, Freshman

“I learned how valuable other’s opinions and ideas can be, no matter how small.” – Brennan Townsend, Junior and Project Manager

Student Members of the Team:

Jeff Bradford, Junior
Makenzi Cushman, Freshman
Kurtis Daniels, Senior
Cynthia Ruvalcaba, Freshman
Andrew Sizemore, Freshman
Sara Sizemore, Senior
Brady Skattebo, Senior
Brennan Townsend, Junior

Enrollment for Summer Program 2016 is Now Open

CAS parents are encouraged to enroll their students in the 2016 Summer Enrichment Program, June 6th – July 1st.  Registration forms are available in the front office or on the website under Forms/Documents.

CAS logoThe 2016 Center for Academic Success Summer Enrichment Program is a full day program for grades K-8, taught by Highly Qualified Teachers and Paraprofessionals with the support of trained Student Interns.  Mornings will be filled with academically based activities in Mathematics, Reading, and Writing, and afternoons will be packed with enrichment classes and clubs such as Culinary, Music, Sports, Gardening, and Healthy Lifestyles.  Breakfast and Lunch will be provided.  The summer program will run Monday – Friday, June 6th – July 1st.

1st and 2nd Graders Perform Spring Musical for Family and Friends

Tuesday, April 12th, the 1st grade (Mrs. Engols) and 2nd grade (Miss Azzabi) classes performed a musical play entitled “Spring Starts Here!” for family and friends.  The story centered around Max, the groundhog, played by Carlos A.  Believing nobody likes him, Max stays in his hole and makes spring wait.  A collection of spring animals plan how to wake the groundhog amid constant April showers.  In the end, Max’s fears are put to rest.  To everyone’s delight, umbrellas turn to rainbows, and the April showers open up to reveal May flowers.  A total of eight songs were beautifully sung by the students.  Thank you parents for arranging for your child’s costume and supporting our music program by your attendance.  A good time was had by all.

Rabbit suggests they play a trick on the groundhog. Students left to right – Alexis A., Adriana H., chancellor M., Taylor N. and Adrian E.

Rabbit suggests they play a trick on Max the groundhog. Students left to right – Alexis A., Adriana H., Chancellor M., Taylor N. and Adrian E.

Members of the 1st grade class are:  Carlos A., Alexis A., Lenora C., Matthew C., Adrian E., Kaitlyn G., Sergio G., Ella G., Julian H., Adriana H., Abrianna L., Lexanny M., Taylor N., Faith O., Sienna P., Eddie P., Davi R., Leonardo S., Gavin S., Melanie T., Damien W., Riley W., and Sha’Nya Y.

Members of the 2nd grade class are:  Alex A., Yamali A., Samuel A., Damien B., Jasmine C., Jayden C., Josiah C., Rebecca C., Abigail D., Ahlen E., Aryana F., Sebastian G., Brendan F., Camron G., Marisela G., Jael H., Jasmine J., Joseline L., Yanissa L., Chancellor M., Kyle M., Carter R., Jasmine S., Analise S., Aidan S., Ella S., Liliana V., and Kaya W.

Educational packets and certificates were awarded the participants following the program.  Lunch was provided by the Windemere Hotel and VFW.  Door prize winners were Sonia Aponte (Sonic) and Christina Flores (Dominos).

Garden Club Cultivates School Spirit

Garden Club Project complete

Garden Club members pose behind their completed project

The High School Garden Club put their green thumbs to the test this week with a new landscaping project.  Settling on a plot near the high school, the students edged the garden with decorative stone to blend with the desert landscaping style of the campus.   The garden’s plants–a variety of water wise bamboo called FirePower Nandina–are creatively arranged to spell out “CAS.”