FRENCHTOWN, NJ – At the regional semi-finals for the New Jersey Solar Sprints youth engineering contest Green Brook’s middle school students won seven prizes and are sending three teams to the state finals in Florham Park on May 28.

The teams participated in the Region 5 semifinals along with other middle school teams from a dozen different school districts representing Hunterdon, Mercer, Somerset and Warren counties. 

The students advanced to the regional contest after winning the Green Brook Middle School Junior Solar Sprints on April 25.  The competing students are all in the district's Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) science program. Maggie Silver, the GATE director, said the event is the highlight of the year for the program.

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Deeba Shokrani, Demetra Chang, Victoria Li and Michelle Yang put together the “Green” car won first place for Best Use of Recycled Materials and Documentation, second place for Craftsmanship, and third place for Engineering.  

Jared Pincus, Sanjeeth Rajaram, Peter Wu and Divesh Kapadia designed and built the “Child’s Play” car won first place for Engineering and second place for Documentation.  

Vamsi Desu, Michael Jiang, Zachary Young and Kevin Tan created the “Space Shuttle” car, which won second place for Best use of Recycled Materials.  

Each team was given basic kits to build their car around, including a solar panel, battery pack and small motor.  The cars were required to meet certain criteria, including that most materials should be recycled and the car had to be able to carry an empty aluminum can.

The Junior Solar Sprints are sponsored by TransOptions to encourage middle school students to get involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education.   TransOptions covers all the costs, along with local and regional sponsors, to ensure that all students regardless of economic circumstances have a chance to compete.