ROXBURY, NJ - Eisenhower Middle School (EMS) once again won the Junior Solar Sprint Picatinny Invitational sponsored and funded by the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP).

“We were fortunate to bring home the title again," Phil Moskowitz, EMS robotics advisor and STEM  teacher. "For the fourth year in a row, we will be representing EMS and Picatinny at the National Race.”

Thirty students - 15 teams of two - EMS competed in the Solar Car Club for the tournament. There were 45 teams racing in the competition. Winners of the competition were based solely on speed. All teams competed in two preliminary races which consisted of four teams each.

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The winning team in each race moved into a spot in the single-elimination playoff races. Eisenhower had six teams win races and make it into the playoffs. Three of those teams won both preliminary races.

The first place team was eighth-graders Caleb Stephen and Andrew Wilson. “Caleb and Andrew 3-D designed their car after finalizing the design using balsa wood prototypes as the 3-D material is much sturdier,” Muskowitz said. "Caleb and Andrew have been part of both the EMS Robotics Team and the Solar Car Team for the past two years and used these experiences to help engineer their car.”

Placing second was seventh-graders Leah Bauder and Lindsay Monro. Moskowitz said “This second place team of Leah and Lindsay was the highest finish of an Eisenhower Middle School’s girl’s team in our four years of competing at Picatinny.”

Caleb and Andrew, along with their parents and Moskowitz, will travel to the National Race at the TSA National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia June 22-26. While there, the students will compete against teams from around the United States. They will be judged in four categories in the Preliminary Round: Speed during time trials, overall engineering and design of the car, engineering and progress notebook and their display.

Moskowitz hopes to build off the success that the school has had the past few years at Nationals.

In 2015, Angela Tumminello and Thomas Sexton placed fifth in Dallas, TX. In 2016, MarcAnthony Scalera and Charlie Nino placed 20th in Nashville and sixth in 2017 in Orlando, FL.

The Junior Solar Sprint is an educational program for fifth through eighth grade students with the goal of creating the fastest, most interesting and best crafted solar-vehicle possible. Students design, build, and race solar powered cars using hands-on engineering skills and principles of science and math, develop teamwork and problem-solving abilities, investigate environmental issues, and gain hands-on STEM skills.