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‘Holler Pride’: Johnson Central High School partners with the UK Solar Car Team

March 18, 2022

PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - A partnership between Johnson Central High School (JCHS) and the University of Kentucky College of Engineering has the Golden Eagles planning to drive on sunshine. With funding from the university and the donation of one of the program’s solar cars, students across the JCHS career pathway courses are working to create a solar car of their own.

“We can do a lot of theory and a lot of things in the classroom, but to have the kids be hands-on with the project is the point of it,” said physics and engineering teacher Nathan Reel.

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

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

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 form at least 10 of the school’s career pathways- from engineering to accounting- are involved in the project, from blueprints to building.

“It feels really good to just get with other students, see what they’ve been learning,” said junior Nick Hardin.

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

Team members say it is fun to have a hands-on project with real-world applications, helping introduce them to the world of engineering and solar at an early age.

“If those college kids are able to do something like that, and we’re taught these engineering skills in high school that they weren’t exposed to until then? We’re getting the chance to do this now and get a jumpstart,” said Castle.

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

“Show the community, show everybody, what we’ve been up to,” said Hardin. “Our pride. Our holler pride.”

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

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