Sarasota, Fla. (March 13, 2020) – Apocalyptic cars and cyber truck lookalikes zoomed around the Suncoast Science Center parking lot during the organization’s annual remote control car competition last Saturday, March 7. Over 150 students and 300 family and community members gathered at the premier community event to celebrate each teams’ hard work.
Designed to drive the next generation of innovators, the event is the culmination of six weeks of hands on workshops that provide student teams with the opportunity to learn how to design and customize a remote control car using Faulhaber Fab Lab equipment and tools. The program–made possible by the Steinwachs Family Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Ringling College of Art + Design, Feld Entertainment and Troll Music–allows students to build real world engineering and design experience as well as 21st century skills including collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving. Student racers, ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade, made up 50 teams and represented 14 local schools.
“The RC Car program empowers students to explore their interests, think creatively and feel comfortable to learn from mistakes along the way,” said Ping Faulhaber, executive director of the Suncoast Science Center. “This unique opportunity allows students to grow as individuals while building a vast array of skills that will help them excel in future pursuits.”
Each year a high school student committee coordinates the program, from selecting the theme to developing and leading workshops to managing race day logistics. This year’s committee of eleven students contributed over 600 volunteer hours to the program and built key leadership skills that will benefit them in college, careers and beyond.
RC Car winners are determined by teams’ scores in three areas: a design competition, challenge race and lap race. Design competition judges included community leaders Andrew and Judith Economos, Jose Joia and Miguel Elasmar. Teams from Southside Elementary School, Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences, and Suncoast Polytechnical High School battled for the overall “Grand Champion” title with the $400 prize going to Suncoast Polytechnical students Christopher, Maddox and Jake of Team Forza. Additional prizes included cash awards, summer program scholarships donated by Ringling College, Monster Jam tickets donated by Feld Entertainment and trophies custom made at the Fab Lab.
“When we started the competition, our team thought that all the machines were simple and we could learn them on our own. We soon realized that we needed help and the Fab Lab volunteers were willing to teach us everything to create the RC car of our imagination,” shared Team Forza member Chris DeMassa. “We look forward to volunteering at the Fab Lab next year to share that knowledge with future participants.”
An additional $1,000 cash prize was presented to the school with most team registrations. Sarasota School of Arts & Sciences took the win with ten teams registered, narrowly beating out two other schools.
About the Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab
The Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab was founded with the mission to inspire and support tomorrow’s innovators through experiential learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. Through its fabrication lab and innovative programs, the Suncoast Science Center encourages people of all ages to explore ideas, build skills and confidence, and become lifelong learners. To learn more, visit www.suncoastscience.org or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.