JCC/Tottenville Solar Pirates Cross Country Race


The Solar Pirates of the JCC Beacon Tottenville High School Green Tech Club competed in the Solar Car Challenge this past week from Sunday, July 17 — Saturday, July 23. The Solar Car Challenge was established in 1993 to help motivate students in science and engineering, and to increase alternative energy awareness. The 2016 version was a cross-country event that started at the Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Texas to Minneapolis, Minnesota, a journey of nearly 800 miles.

Competing since 2012 this year’s team was full of hope and ready to go. What follows is a day by day account from Faculty Advisor Charlie Dazzo.

Hello Friends, Colleagues and Family,

Yesterday on Sunday we had an electrical breakdown after the first 10 miles, so most of the 125 miles were not covered.

Today Monday was a different story. We made repairs and got the Solar Car running and was surprised that at 56 MPH the car did well. We covered 114 miles today. At present we are at Ponca City, Oklahoma and tomorrow we are heading to Manhattan, Kansas. We hope to do 100 miles plus again each day for the race which ends on Saturday afternoon. The team flies out home on Sunday.

On our 3rd day we had another great day. The Solar Car did over 100 miles again. Compared to our first day with electrical breakdown the car was repaired and is running well.

Today was rest day and we had a chance to charge up the batteries and get some well deserved rest. Tomorrow we kick off at 9 am towards Lincoln Nebraska. The sights are amazing.

Today broke 100 degrees and it was a tough day racing, but we did fairly well. The team traveled over 139 miles and the car ran good. Tomorrow is the longest day as we travel into Worthington, Minnesota (142 miles). As a retired teacher I am traveling with my partner Gerard Dambrosio who still teaches at Tottenville Auto Shop and 3 parents of students. We all believe this is a wonderful experience for everyone involved.

Today was a hot, tough day, but we managed to make the entire 142 miles to take 2nd place for the day. Tomorrow is the end of the cross-country competition.

Our summer journey has come to a close. Due to torrential rains we were not able to race our car on the last leg.

However, we did place 5th in our division. (There were a total of 17 entrants.) Speaking to you as a retired teacher, father and grandfather, my faith in my students’ team is at an all time high. I also include my partner Gerard Dambrosio who is the best Auto Shop teacher in NYC. We can achieve higher goals when we try as a team and believe in today’s youth. Special thanks to our supporters (including Kevin Brosnick), friends and family for believing in what we are doing,

Thanks & God Bless.

Charlie Dazzo