Will the next great transportation innovation emerge from a Loleta School classroom? Loleta School is competing against schools across the nation in the Garrett Morgan Sustainable Transportation Program for the 21st Century Symposium. The program is sponsored by Caltrans, the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) of San Jose, and the Federal Highway Administration.
Loleta students have developed a project designed to address sustainable transportation, “Humboldt Renewable Energy Transportation.” This project would involve producing hydrogen to run hydrogen hybrid vehicles through green sources such as solar, wind, and tidal power. Additional ecologically-friendly sources of electricity would be used to charge electric and plug-in hybrid cars.
The students were assisted by their teacher, Jackie Carter, Caltrans Area Construction Engineer Susan Tappan, and staff from Humboldt State University’s Schatz Energy Research Center. The students presented their project at the Symposium on March 25 via video teleconference from the Caltrans District Office in Eureka.
“I am very proud of the five 7th and 8th grade students from Loleta School. They worked hard to study sustainable transportation issues, they worked well together as a team to produce an excellent project, and they did a good job presenting their project and asking and fielding questions during the competition,” said Louis Hoiland, Superintendent/Principal of Loleta School.
The winning project will be announced at MTI’s annual scholarship awards banquet in June. The winning school will receive a $1,000 check, and a student, parent, and teacher from the school receive an expense-paid trip to San Jose for the awards banquet, attended by the Secretary of Transportation. The teachers of all classes participating in the competition will receive a $50 gift certificate for project supplies.
“Participating in the Garrett Morgan Symposium is a great way to encourage students to consider careers in transportation. These students showed great ingenuity and innovation, and I’m proud that Caltrans could be a part of their education,” said Charlie Fielder, Caltrans District 1 director.
The program is named in honor of Garrett Morgan, the son of former slaves, who invented the three-position traffic signal in the 1920s. The technology Morgan developed is the basis for the modern-day traffic signal.