Harlandale ISD preps for Alamo City Electrathon

STEM Early College High School students are working extra hard on the weekends to build an electric-powered car that they’ll be racing with at the inaugural Alamo City Electrathon slated for May 19 at the old San Antonio Speedway.

So far the students have assembled the frame, painted it, ordered hardware and put together the tires. This weekend, they’ll be measuring a seat frame for the driver.

“This is a brand new competition for all of us, so it’s exciting, but it’s also scary because we want to do really well,” sophomore student Venus Sanchez said. “Up until now, every competition the school has competed in is driven with a remote control.”

The Alamo City Electrathon is the vision of Southwest ISD Superintendent Lloyd Verstuyft. After Southwest High School’s robotics team found themselves traveling out of the state to compete in electrathons, he approached City Councilman Rey Saldana and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas (TMMTX) to bring the competition to the south side of San Antonio.

After nearly three years in the works, the announcement for the competition was made this week and Harlandale ISD is excited to join in on making history. The car kit for each of the seven school districts involved was also unveiled during the kick-off press conference held at Toyota.

A TMMTX zip code study shows that 70 percent of employees live within a 15 minute drive to the plant.

“What that means is that if this is a company that is going to find some way to sustain itself long term and will continue to provide jobs long term in our own backyard then we have to find ways to empower the people that live and operate in our backyard,” TMMTX Director of Government Relations and External Affairs Mario Lozoya said. 

He added that the plant has increased their support for robotics by 900 percent in the last four years.

“When we look at those numbers we start thinking about how we can help students and teachers stay on the same pace,” Lozoya said.

During the kick-off event, Toyota presented a $50,000 check to get the project rolling. 

On the day of the race, teams will go through a series of inspections, including electrical, mechanical, driver and dynamic, to ensure their vehicles are safe to compete. The teams race in two one-hour races and the winner is determined by the team with the most laps combined from the two races.

Good luck, Rattlers!

STEM Electrothon

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