By Sisko J. Stargazer Sun Staff Writer
BEC's newest module hit the road at full throttle recently with Yuma's middle school students in the driver's seats.
The DRIVE module, which stands for Design of Remote Impact Vehicles and Engineering, is the newest module introducing students to automotive technologies and careers. On Saturday, the six participating junior high schools from Crane School District and Yuma School District One – Castle Dome Middle School, Centennial Middle School, Crane Middle School, Fourth Avenue Junior High School, Gila Vista Junior High School and Ron Watson Middle School – met at Crane Middle School to race their remote-controlled vehicles.
Seated by the race track at Crane Middle School, Yuma County Superintendent of Schools Tom Tyree and Vice President of the Yuma Arizona Business and Education Coalition Debra Raeder watched as the culmination of ABEC's newest module took place.
Tyree noted that the race was made possible by local business partnerships. Clint Harrington of Pilkington Construction built the track, which he estimates to be a $20,000 investment, sponsoring businesses provided students with their vehicles and Fast Eddie's RC Hobbies helped run the race. Ryan Hancock, president of Alexander Ford in Yuma and a professional racer, kicked off the event with Harrington speaking to the middle schoolers present. As a surprise announcement, the two also promised to provide cash/gift card prizes to the event's first and second place winners.
"This is the crux of our program: the ability to give our students project-based opportunities," Raeder said. "It's a fun thing, but it's really taking a deep dive on what it's like to work in the automotive and transportation industries."
Raeder also noted that the partners sponsoring the DRIVE module and race represent the jobs available in Yuma County today. Ryan Tyree, principal of Crane Middle School, explained that for several years, he's really wanted to bring in more career exploration opportunities. Today, he finds students express more excitement in these types of electives over traditional ones.
While Crane Middle School's students designed the track that was used for the race, students from all the junior highs found themselves engaged. One parent, Alejandra Angulo, shared that even when her daughter Sophia had been quarantining, she was constantly facetiming and keeping in touch with her teammates about their vehicle project.
To learn more about Yuma ABEC's endeavors, visit https://www.yumaabec.com/.
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