The Beat

The Beat

Martina Santos 26 (left) hosts Nieves Gomez as an exchange student from Madrid.
Meet Nieves Gomez
May 27, 2024

Girl Power Meets Solar Power


The Carrollton solar car racing team (CarrollSun) went to the annual Sunchase race at Florida Gulf Coast University on April 2. 

When 17 teenage girls arrived at Florida Gulf Coast University and rolled in a hot pink car, their competition was shocked. Not only was the 2022 solar car spray painted a vibrant shade of pink, but its chassis was welded from scratch meaning that the team melted metal together using extremely advanced tools. Although our competitors did not expect to see a car like ours, they did know that we (as 2020 champions) would return to defend our crown. 

Since August of 2021, the CarrollSUN team worked diligently several days a week, staying late and constantly working toward innovative solutions for challenges that arose. The team has met every Monday and Wednesday (sometimes even on the weekends and over holidays) to create our car. The team is composed of seven seniors, two juniors, two sophomores, and four freshmen. Our captains, Thais Christina Perez ‘22 and Isabella Delionado ‘22, have created a sisterly atmosphere among high school students who share a love of STEM. 

“We’ve all learned what it really means to be a part of a team, and have gained so much from our experiences together,” said Thais. Through hours of welding, spray painting, and screwing bolts into every inch of our car, we made our deadline and prepared to race. 

We arrived at Florida Gulf Coast University with high hopes. On Friday, we gave our tech presentation to a panel of university judges. Our presentation captured all of the failures and successes that came with our processes. The judges were thoroughly impressed and we were awarded the best presentation out of 11 other teams.

The next morning was the day we had all been waiting for, the race. Composed of four sprints, the race did not go exactly as planned. During our first start, we flew by the competition at an astonishing speed setting the fastest lap of the whole weekend. Unfortunately, we did not keep up this pace in the second sprint because our sprocket came loose. However, we persisted and came back strong to win the third sprint. In the end, our team won two out of the three categories. 

The real reward was not the trophies that we took home, but the experiences we had as a team. Working late nights, painting each other’s nails, and giving each other advice, the team has become a family. At the end of the competition, all 15 members of the CarrollSun team ran into a loving group hug that was filled with tears. Our amazing solar car was one of two things we built that year. The other (which was created simultaneously and unintentionally) was this beautiful group of women that I am proud to call my sisters. 

Thais summed it up well by saying, “Whether it’s supporting each other emotionally, teaching each other shop skills, or even helping other members out with homework after a long night at the maker space, I think this team truly embodies what it means to be sisters of the Sacred Heart.” 


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About the Contributor
Sofia Barrera
Sofia Barrera, Opinion Editor
Sofia Barrera is the Opinion Editor for The Beat and was formerly a staff writer for two years. Covering Carrollton policy debate and global opinion topics, Sofia is passionate about promoting student journalism in an educational atmosphere. She was awarded an honorable mention last year at the Journalism Education Association Convention in San Francisco, California. Apart from journalism, Sofia is also the shadow president of Model UN, a business manager for the Solar Car Racing Team, and an alto in the school choir.