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Solar Team Members Walk Away With More Than Just Championships

Posted by Jennifer Ortega | July 23, 2012 / 04:32pm | Local News, Education
HOUSTON, Miss. (WCBI) -- It's one of Mississippi's great stories. A group of students from a small high school beating out much larger schools for the national solar car championship year after year.

Immediately it prompts visions of budding engineers, scientists and mathemeticians. While some do go on to pursue such careers, it turns out the Houston Solar Car team turns out much more than just book worms.

Students come and go through the Houston Solar Race Team every year but many take with them skills far beyond solar energy technology.

The hard work and dedication one alumni learned from the race team took her straight through college and into her own business.

"I started out going into electrical engineering because of solar car and the more I started, you know, looking into all the programs and the things I decided. I kind of wanted to go into an area where I could use my leadership skills, my management skills more so than the electrical stuff so I ended up going into business,"said Leigh Springer, who was captain of the team or three years before graduating in 2007.

Managing a team at work comes naturally to her.

"I have a mobile home business right now and so you know, we have a set up crew, we have sales people so I manage them, use a lot of the skills that I learned in the race," added Springer.

Leigh's younger sister followed in her foot steps, also leading the race team as captain. She's graduated from Houston now and even though she's not interested in studying engineering, she, too, has developed skills that will help her in the future.

"I'm actually going to study accounting, I think, but I feel like solar car helps you with whatever, whether you're doing engineering or any other subject, it just makes you more well rounded," said team member Whitney George.

Many racers say it takes a lot of time management to complete such a project, something they will apply in college and in life.

"I'm going to Ole Miss to be in dietetics so it's helped me a lot, with just my confidence. I used to be really shy and the team brought me out of my shell," added Suzy Reese.

The Houston Solar Race Team came home Saturday with its 12th national title in 13 years. The girls team won its fifth title in as many years of competition.
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