And now for some good news! DeKalb Students are making history. Be a part of it.

DeKalb Students are making history. Be a part of it.
by Mpaza S. Kapembwa

The DeKalb Engineering Team will be the first and only team representing the state of Georgia at this year’s Winston Solar Car Challenge. DeKalb County students from Chamblee, Cross Keys, Dunwoody and Fernbank are making education history by building Georgia’s first ever solar powered race car. The car will race in the Winston Solar Car Challenge starting July 14th at the Texas Motor Speedway.

The team is in good hands. It is led by two never-say-quit military veterans; faculty advisors who have sacrificed their summers to help the team do in two months what their mentors, the Georgia Tech Solar Jackets, have been doing for two years.

Earlier this year, Mr. Patrick Gunter, one of the faculty advisors, coached the Cross Keys High School Robotics Team, one-third of the Solar Car Team, to an impressive 11th place finish out of 400 teams from all over the world at the Vex World Robotics Championship in Anaheim, California. The team beat opponents from countries including China, Japan and Singapore and were the top scoring team in their division of 100 teams.

The DeKalb Engineering Team, based at Cross Keys High School’s Manufacturing Center has split into two teams the last two weeks working 18 hour days. The first team worked on mechanical and composites at Middle Georgia College while the second group focused on photovoltaics, electrical, and public relations at Cross Keys in order to meet their deadlines.

Recently, the joint team held a press conference at Cross Keys High School to unveil the car’s aero-body that has been hand-fabricated by the students in the state-of-the-art aviation center of Middle Georgia College.

The team’s efforts for the past two months have put them in a position to succeed but they need sponsors to make the race. With initial seed funding from the Cross Keys Foundation, the team has managed to build the major systems required for the car but just two weeks before the race, the team needs the county and state to get behind its efforts to reach their goal of being a championship team.

After July 14th, then what? The vehicle will represent about $300,000 in equity for the community and the plan is to run the system in races and as an educational platform for three years or more. The team is also eying a trip to Australia to represent DeKalb, Georgia and the United States in the Solar World Challenge.

Do you want to be part of history? Visit and see how you may help the students represent DeKalb County and Georgia. Don’t wait! They must leave for Texas by the 13th, in 10 days, and need your support now!

Mpaza S. Kapembwa, a student at Williams College, is a 2011 Cross Keys graduate, Gates Millennium Scholar, Coca Cola Scholar, Dell Scholar and Bank of America Student Leader

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9 Responses to And now for some good news! DeKalb Students are making history. Be a part of it.

  1. EAV Mom says:

    Great story! Nice to see some positive news for a change. Good luck to everyone involved!

  2. Jim McMahan says:

    Mpaza and all of the great supporters of Cross Keys HS,
    This is truly remarkable and I am excited for your pursuit in the Solar Car Challenge.
    It’s hard to tell how much is needed from your website.
    Let us all know how much is needed. ($$$)
    I would love to help.
    Jim McMahan
    District 4 School Board Candidate for DeKalb County

  3. Murphey says:

    I believe $42,000 is needed VERY soon to get their car finished and transported to Texas for the race.

    Pat Gunter, the Cross Keys teacher, is amazing. PLEASE support the students. Let’s put our money where our “blog” is!! I mailed my check last week.

    Here is the address:

    Cross Keys Foundation
    4060 Peachtree Road D-543
    Atlanta, GA 30319

  4. Thanks Murphey! I hope that everyone will send as much as you are able. Every little bit adds up!

  5. Congratulations to all who worked on this amazing project. We are curious… the press release / article states: Chamblee, Cross Keys, Dunwoody and Fernbank – are these all names of schools or parts of DeKalb? I know Cross Keys and Chamblee are high schools, right? Is Dunwoody also a high school? And what about Fernbank? I thought it was an elementary school.

    Jim McMahan, do you know anything about the D.A. being up for re-election? We saw this file on and it states the DA is an office that is up for re-election but no candidates show up on the list of those who qualified.

    Also, please have your office email us at with information about the yard signs. We would also be interested in hearing what you are doing to reassure the residents in Tucker that you will work on their behalf as well as Lakeside and the rest of the county if elected.

    Are you aware that one of your opponents, Jim Kinney (and I quote) “… is a constant participant of lively discussions of how humans should migrate to space and what it’ll take to get there.” He enjoys drinking beer so much that he gives speeches about how to brew it. And he apparantly enjoys space imagery (and I quote) “especially if it is dangerous.” Read full bio here: avid collector of impressive experimental physics imagery. Especially if it’s dangerous.

    I dont know about you, but I’ll have a hard time deciding who is more dangerous for our district – Womack who doesn’t recall reading contracts or remember the schools in his districts or Kinney who believe more money and less of an emphasis on dicipline will fix our schools and, even if that doesn’t work he can at least get some dangerous images photos of the cell tower experiment they will be conducting on our children for his collection.

    Good thing we have Jim McMahan… now we just have to get the word out!

  6. Yes, Dunwoody has an elementary school called Dunwoody Elementary as well as a high school called Dunwoody High School. This project is strictly high school students, so I will assume that Mpaza meant Fernbank Science Center students.

  7. Student Supporter says:

    As of last week, the team needed $40,000. About $10,000 has been raised so far, $30,000 needed in the home stretch. Whatever you may be able to donate will be appreciated.

  8. justwatch says:

    The DA is a four year term, this is his second year. The election is held every 4 years, the next one will be in 2014.

  9. Pingback: They Won! The Cross Keys Solar Car Team Won! | dekalb school watch two

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