Spring is in the air, and school is winding down for the year, but one group of Paradise 6th graders will be hitting the water before summer vacation even starts. In tonight's Kids In Action, reporter Rick Carhart shows us how these middle schoolers are getting ready for a unique boat race.
Evergreen 6 provides a specialized learning environment for 60 kids on the ridge.
Student Bennett Irvin says, "that's what this school is all about, solar power."
Teachers at the school search for ways to challenge their students, and one project jumped out at them.
Teacher Greg Holman says, "we took a vote and it was unanimous, everyone wanted to try."
Student J.T. Rice says, "it sounded cool because not many 6th graders get to build a boat and race it."
This Friday, the Evergreen 6 solar boat will hit the water to compete in the Northern California Solar Boat Regatta in Sacramento. but getting everything ready has proved to be a big challenge.
Mr. Holman says, "I thought we'll just buy a boat and plug in some solar panels and a motor and we'll just go have fun and I was way wrong."
Their boat is a 16 foot canoe that someone was going to throw away. but there's much more to the project than attaching some solar panels and going for a ride.
Student Kayli Palade says, "most of us are here every Friday working on it and some other days of the week."
Kayli is one of four boat drivers. They each had to pass a 130 question test to earn the right to pilot their craft.
Kayli says, "it's pretty easy but it's so long that you have to make good turns or you'll hit something."
And there have been challenges along the way. Jennifer Thompson was on board when the motor broke down, and says, "it really slowed down a lot, kind of stopped."
Now they have a system that uses lake water to cool the motor, and they're back up and running.
Mr. Holman says, "they see that they can do this and when you put everyone's minds together, get input, help and support, there are neat ideas that come as hybrids of all that stuff."
And even though they are the youngest team, and will be competing against High School students, they are confident.
J.T. Says, "we're gonna win...it's gonna happen, I'm pretty sure."
But win or lose, they'll all have an experience they'll never forget.