With the lift of a wooden gate, remote control cars sped through the obstacle course for the Remote Control Custom Car Open at the Suncoast Science Center Saturday, March 5.
The event featured teams of students in three categories with elementary, middle and high school participants. Teams began customizing their remote control cars in January through a series of workshops taught by the SciCore Youth Volunteers at the Suncoast Science Center. Over the course of six weeks the volunteers and instructors taught 52 workshops on topics including how to lighten their cars, use vinyl cutters for designs and how to overall enhance the performance of their vehicles.
Participants began with the same hobby-grade remote control car and were given the task of customizing it for three competitions: design contest; drag races; laps race. The contest was designed to test innovation, engineering and creativity while fostering mentorship between the different age groups.
Nearly every aspect of the competition was manufactured at the Suncoast Science Center from the lift gates for the races to the print on the T-shirts to the wooden medals for winners.
“It’s really about life-skill building and they are just have so much fun,” said Pin Faulhaber, Suncoast Science Center Executive Director. “I’m very happy to see so many girls say they want to come here every day.”
The school with the most teams participating in the competition was Pine View School. Principal Stephen Covert and seventh grade science teacher Hali Flahavan received a check for $1,000 on behalf of the science department. Prizes included scholarships to Ringling College of Art and Design and cash prizes for the first place winners for each category and division.
Faulhaber already has plans for expanding the competition for next year. She heard feedback all day from parents wanting to be more involved.
“Now they want to be part of the action,” Faulhaber said. “So we want to have a parent team next time.”