Gallery: Long Cane Middle School host GreenPower race

Published 3:11 pm Saturday, March 19, 2022

Long Cane Middle School hosted the second annual KIA Spring Fever Goblin Rally on Saturday.

Seven teams of the 13 teams participating were from five of the local elementary schools: Long Cane, Rosemont, Ethel Kight, Franklin Forest and Callaway. Rosemont had three teams in the event with enough students to make an all-girls team.

“I think it’s the coolest thing,” said Long Cane Middle School Greenpower head and event coordinator/planner Mathew Graham. “I told them when they get to the middle school next year that ‘I know a guy.,” Graham joked.

The Greenpower racing program only started being introduced to local elementary schools in October 2019 with Rosemont being the first. Callaway started its program during the current school year, and Berta Weathersbee is working on building a car right now.

The elementary school events consist of a drag race portion, a slalom portion, a circuit race and a presentation.

For Saturday’s event, teams came from as far as Gulf Shores, Alabama and Chattanooga, Tennessee to participate in the rally.

“We couldn’t be more excited to be attracting teams from that far away,” Graham said. “It highlights how important it is to put on a great event.”

When people hear racing they mainly think of sports, but Greenpower is so much more than that. It is a STEM program that is helping young people take the knowledge learned in the classroom and apply it to real-world scenarios.

“The skills they’re learning now. If we can build on them in middle school and roll those into our high school programs, the knowledge they have will help them down the road,” Graham said.

“The teamwork, problem-solving and public speaking they encounter in the Greenpower program will have them so much better prepared for whatever career they go into.”

Because the program has now expanded into local elementary schools and high schools these students will be able to build on these skills for a decade if they stick with the Greenpower program.

The next step for Greenpower is to roll out the program to all the schools in Troup County.

“I think we only have three schools left where we’re trying to roll out programs, and we’re hoping to do that next year,” Graham said.

Graham believes that next year he will have over 20 teams participating in these events as the Greenpower programs spread like wildfire through the local, state and national school systems. He hopes to host this event at other elementary schools in the future so that the course can change and not be limited to the same course at Long Cane Elementary every year.

The local schools’ Greenpower programs are not just to fill out numbers, they are also top-quality teams: Troup County teams had two of the top three in overall standings, two of the top three in presentations, two of top three in drag racing, all of the top three in slalom, and two of the top five in circuit racing.

The Greenpower rallies are all about bringing kids together in a fun and competitive environment. This would not have been possible without the 12 volunteers from Graham’s middle school Cougar Strong racing team. They were at the event from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. to help their elementary school counterparts have an enjoyable and smooth day of racing.

“It gives them even more project management experience, and I think it helps them to see the bigger picture of how the GreenpowerUSA program can positively impact their future,” Graham said.