Johnson Central students soak up the sun

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PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) — A partnership between Johnson Central High School and the University of Kentucky College of Engineering has allowed the Golden Eagles to ride in the sun.

With funding from the university and the donation of one of the program’s solar cars, students in JCHS career courses work to create their own solar car.

“We can do a lot of theory and a lot of stuff in the classroom, but the goal is to get kids involved in the project,” said physics and engineering teacher Nathan Reel.

So, the team came up with the name “EAGLE X” to show that this is a collaborative effort.

“Being able to see this all come together and know that what we’ve learned, we’re going to be able to show to the whole community,” senior Zoe Castle said.

The car, which will be a smaller and less extravagant car than the UK donor car, will be a potentially street-legal solar car. Students from at least 10 majors at the school – from engineering to accounting – are involved in the project, from plans to construction.

“It’s really good to get together with other students, to see what they’ve learned,” said junior Nick Hardin.

The car will be entered into a competition next year, where it will take an endurance run around Texas Motor Speedway in Dallas.

Team members say it’s fun to have a hands-on project with real-world applications, helping them learn about the world of engineering and solar from an early age.

“If these middle school kids are able to do something like this, and we’re taught these engineering skills in high school that they haven’t been exposed to before?” We have the chance to do that now and get off to a good start,” Castle said.

The group has just completed the engineering student plans. These moved on to the welding program for assembly, with everyone hoping to complete the car shell by the end of the school year. They say they are excited to roll out the project and show the car to the community, hoping to gain their support as they build it from the ground up.

“Show the community, show everyone, what we’ve done,” Hardin said. “Our pride. Our screaming pride.

The team named the car “Holler Pride”, claiming it is the product of it, proving that big innovation can sparkle in a small town.

“We want this to be a project that the community can support, get excited about and be proud of,” Reel said.

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