This October, National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day Odyssey events were held at approximately 160 locations and nearly 60 of these events took place at secondary schools. Odyssey Day events were a series of nationwide events promoting alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles, which are coordinated by the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC). To provide an overview of Odyssey secondary school events, we are including highlights from five different secondary sites.

“Education doesn’t always move at the speed of technology,” NAFTC Executive Director Al Ebron said. “With our Odyssey Day secondary school events, we have the ability to bring information about alternative fuel and advance technology vehicles to students across the country.”

Health Sciences High and Middle College, located in San Diego, California, held its Odyssey event on October 23. To prepare for their event, the school’s science teachers taught their students lessons on alternative energy. The Odyssey Day event included several different opportunities for students to engage with the alternative fuel theme. Students were able to build and race solar cars using recycled materials and solar panels at a lunchtime event, visit several booths, and play games related to alternative fuels. One booth allowed students to create their own wind turbines. Students also enjoyed the games, which included Jeopardy and a game during which they used a map of the United States to compare energy usage for each state.

Students gather at information tables at the Health Sciences High and Middle College Odyssey event in San Diego. Credit: NAFTC.

Dundalk High School, located in Baltimore, Maryland, hosted its Odyssey Day event on October 24. The event included multiple presentations. A researcher from John Hopkins University presented on algae fuel, and students also prepared presentations for the event. Student presentations covered various fuel types, including ethanol, hydrogen, and methanol. The high school event also featured a 2013 Chevy Volt, supplied by Bob Bell Chevy, for students to investigate. Approximately 250 students and between 15 and 20 faculty members attended the event. Dundalk High School’s Odyssey Day was coordinated by Joe Lilly, a physics teacher at the school.

Topsail High School, located in Hampstead, North Carolina, presented the Odyssey video for their October 24 event. Students were intrigued by some of the technology shown, and asked questions about the possibility of changing one of the currently converted cars into a plug-in hybrid. The class also discussed the basics of hydrogen fuel cell technology and other fossil fuel alternatives. Topsail technical instructor, Steve Garrett, coordinated the event, and 42 students attended the event.

Colin J. Williams and Tonya Sornson of Mountain View Solar pose with their solar vehicle at the Wildwood Middle School Odyssey event in Shenandoah Junction, West Virginia. Credit: NAFTC.

Wildwood Middle School, located in Shenandoah Junction, West Virginia, featured a Mountain View Solar vehicle at their National AFV Day Odyssey event. Mountain View Solar representatives taught middle-schoolers how the vehicle’s recharging process works: the vehicle collects energy from the sun and converts it to electric energy. In addition, students demonstrated the mini-solar cars they had constructed earlier using kits from Kid-Wind. The event, coordinated by Carolyn Thomas, drew seventh and eighth grade science students, as well as English as a Second Language (ESL) students.

James B. Dudley High School, in Greensboro, North Carolina, an NAFTC Associate Training Center, held their Odyssey Day event on October 20. The event featured 26 different alternative fuel vehicles, including a Tesla, a Ford Focus, a 1934 Ford Roadster, an electric bike, and electric- and solar-powered go-karts. The event included plug-in electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, solar-powered vehicles, and hydrogen-powered vehicles. Event Coordinator Ricky Lewis began the day with introductions and stories about the displayed vehicles. The day also included a video highlighting the need for trained problem solvers in transportation-related careers, a tour of the high school’s auto shop, and a tour of the 26 displayed AFVs.

The National AFV Day Odyssey is coordinated by the NAFTC in order to teach the public about alternative fuel vehicles and to encourage their use.

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