High school students from South Gate, CA just won a world automotive championship: the 2019 Horizon Grand Prix in the Czech Republic, making history with the first-ever prototype fuel cell vehicle that runs on pure hydrogen power.
The group of budding engineers from STEAM Legacy High School traveled to compete in the Grand Prix in June. The competition calls for students to create innovative, alternative energy solutions to help address climate change.
And that’s exactly what these kids are doing: innovating, problem-solving, and defying expectations. The STEAM Legacy team not only won first place, but made history with the first hydrogen prototype vehicle the Prix had ever seen.
“STEAM Legacy traveled a total of about 53 miles in six hours. That’s ridiculously impressive,” competition organizers told Los Angeles’ ABC7. “These students are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible… they’ll impact how hydrogen fuel cell technicians are trained in the future.”
The STEAM team was strategic during the international race, switching off between electricity and hydrogen to maximize run time. The students are making an impact not only in the field of energy tech, but as representatives of their community. STEAM Legacy High School also had a second team in the race that won third place.
Alan Gallardo, a member of the winning team, told ABC7: “This little city from South Gate, this little school from South Gate, these kids from immigrant parents… we were able to accomplish and become world champions in the automotive field with engineering. We were the first team in the whole competition to actually run purely on hydrogen. Whenever we showed it off to the judges, they were blown away.”
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math, and was recently named one of the top LA County Public Schools for under-served communities. The school’s vision is “to build a safe and innovative learning community that opens the door to STEM fields,” according to their website. They aim to “lead students to envision and become empowered to be active members of the current knowledge-based society, while co-creating a world beyond expectation.”
“We were going against private schools, we were going against top-notch schools from all over the world,” Nidia Ibarra, another a STEAM Legacy student told ABC7. “To know that we come from a public school, that we can beat all of those people… it shows how much dedication can take you to the top.”