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Akins High School Competes in F1 in Schools World Finals

AUSTIN, Texas--This week, W. Charles Akins H.S. T-STEM Academy's TALON Racing, in conjunction with Axium Racing from Granbury High School, will compete as one team, Lone Star Racing, at the SAE/Formula One F1 in Schools Technology Challenge World Finals 2013. 

The camaraderie between the two halves of Lone Star Racing came to the forefront earlier this year, when Granbury encountered catastrophic tornadoes and storms in May that made national headlines. Included in the destruction was one of Axium Racing's team member's home. The day after the storm, the team members of TALON Racing began to raise money for Granbury. 

The team raised about $1,500, bought supplies and gathered clothing. The following day, TALON Racing visited Granbury High School and gave the Axium member the money they had raised to help his family and the numerous bags filled with supplies to help the members of the Granbury community get back on their feet. 

"On this day, Lone Star Racing actually became a family instead of a compilation of teams. We were able to hang out and forget about the madness of the tornado, and for that we are truly grateful," Chloe Scroggins, an 18-year-old project manager for Lone Star Racing, said. 

F1 in Schools is an educational initiative aimed at changing the perceptions of science, technology, engineering and mathematics by creating a fun and exciting learning environment in which students from all over the world compete in several phases of the not-for-profit multi-disciplinary challenge. 

"The students and faculty of W. Charles Akins H.S are proud to be a part of the first Central Texas high schools competing in the inaugural F1 in Schools world finals competition to be held in the United States, representing our school, district, state and country," Juan M. Gonzalez, assistant principal for the T-STEM Academy said. 

Students work for months with the most advanced computer-aided drafting, computational fluid dynamics, computer-aided manufacturing and presentation media software as well as high-tech machining tools to design, analyze, manufacture and test miniature CO2-powered balsa-wood F1 model cars. 

Akins T-STEM student James Garcia specialized in computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing while building the car with his teammates. 

"I picked up a lot more knowledge about the 3D CAM software," Akins student James Garcia said. "Out of 2,700 students only I and a few others know how to use the vertical machining center. Not only that, but I have a great mentor, Mr. Jay Sharp of Reed, Prototype and Modeling, who's taught me a lot." 

Mentors of the team included Alexis Avrim, a test engineer at SpaceX, John Ivey and Rebecca Munoz, both Akins graduate mentors; and benefactors such as AISD staff members Suzanne Burke, Pauline Dow, Daniel Girard, Annette Gregory and Nancy Phillips as well as community business members from SNAP-On, RPM, Rivercity Sportswear, KENT USA, Industrial Andons, Fire and Soul, Chick-Fil-A, Dixie Tools and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 

The F1 in Schools World Finals takes place through Nov. 13 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel with more than 300 students divided into 38 teams, travelling from 22 countries competing to be named champion and receive full scholarships to the prestigious Automotive Engineering School at City College in London upon individual acceptance. Each team of between three and six students will present their work, to a panel orally and in writing, in support of their model car, which is raced on a specially designed test track. 

At the World Finals each team will bring along a pit display, three identical cars and portfolio, and a prepared presentation for the more than 30 judges. The cars race on a 20-metre track. The cars cover the distance in just more than one second. 

On Thursday, Nov. 14, teams will visit the Circuit of The Americas to watch the 2013 Formula One United States Grand Prix. Courtesy of COTA, the students will be given VIP access to the circuit during Grand Prix week, a visit to the tower and a tour of the F1 team garages. 

"We're going to come away with is a lot of contacts with the outside world-knowing people who sponsored us. If you have connections it's a lot easier to do things in this world," Akins T-STEM student Hannah Holder said. 

Gary Anderson, F1 in Schools World Finals 2013 head of judges, is anticipating exceptionally high standards this year. 

"Over the years I've seen an increasingly high level of sophistication in the research and design area of the project and the cars are just fantastic," Anderson said. "I'm sure there will be close competition and fighting to the last run down the track." 

The F1 in Schools World Finals take place with the assistance of a host of sponsors and supporters including Circuit of The Americas, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, City University London, Autodesk and AISD. 

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 About F1 in Schools

F1 in Schools challenges students to create their own Formula One team, which is commissioned to design, manufacture and race the fastest miniature Formula One Car of the Future.

F1 in Schools aims to help change perceptions of science, technology, engineering and mathematics by creating a fun and exciting learning environment for young people to develop an informed view about careers in engineering, Formula One, science, marketing and technology.