What's Happening in the Area

Inter-County Winners Shine at Model Solar Car Races

TransOptions proudly presented awards to the Inter-County Final winners of the 15th annual Junior Solar Sprints Competition (JSS) held on May 23, 2016, at Ridgedale Middle School, Florham Park.

Millennium Pigeon from Warren Township Middle School emerged victorious as the Overall Winner from a crowded field of 72 model racing cars. In addition to individual awards, Millennium Pigeon earned possession of the JSS Solar Cup for one year until it is passed to next year’s winner. The overall winner's school name, Warren Township Middle School, will be engraved on the trophy.

The Inter-County Final races wrapped up months of effort by teams of middle school students who designed, built, documented and raced their solar-powered model racing cars en route to the championship. Participating teams earned a right to compete by winning in one or more categories at the five divisional races held last week.

Students competed in the categories of Speed, Engineering, Craftsmanship and Best Use of Recycled Materials. Each team was also required to submit a Progress Journal that documented the history of their car from concept through design, development and testing. Immediately following the races, awards were presented to each student on the winning teams.

The 2016 winners are:

Overall Winner

Millennium Pigeon, Warren Township Middle School


1st Place – Rhino Tank, McKeown School

2nd Place – Triangle, McKeown School

3rd Place – Phoenix, McKeown School


1st Place – Millennium Pigeon, Warren Township Middle School

2nd Place – Odyssey, St. Joseph's School

3rd Place – Pattern Car, Harding Middle School


1st Place – Millennium Pigeon, Warren Township Middle School

2nd Place – Four Scoops, Hillside School

3rd Place – HOPE Mobile, Mt. Arlington Public School

Best Use of Recycled Materials

1st Place – The Elephant, The Willow School

2nd Place – Binder Mobile, Martin J. Ryerson Middle School

3rd Place – MRR, Sparta Middle School

Progress Journal

1st Place - MRR, Sparta Middle School

2nd Place - Bean Mobile, Sparta Middle School

3rd Place – Green Machine, Mt. Arlington Public School

Students’ Choice

1st Place – HOPE Mobile, Mt. Arlington Public School

2nd Place – Millennium Pigeon, Warren Township Middle School

3rd Place – Odyssey, St. Joseph's School

A complete list of the Inter-County Final winners is also available at http://www.transoptions.org/jssfinal.

Now in its 15th year, JSS is a hands-on program introducing students to alternative energy science and engineering aligned with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). The competition has grown in size and scope reaching 63 schools and nearly 5,000 students from an expanding geography that includes Bergen, Essex, Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren counties.

Support from sponsors helps to defray the cost of materials and enables TransOptions to continue offering JSS at no cost to students, their teachers, parents and school districts. TransOptions gratefully acknowledges Alcoa Foundation, FirstEnergy Foundation, The Provident Bank Foundation, Thorlabs, 3M and Pitsco Education for their continued sponsorship. A dedicated group of volunteers lend their time and talents to support the growth of JSS as judges and repair table mentors.

For more information and to learn how to participate in JSS next year, contact TransOptions’ Environmental Education Coordinator, Kristen Tomasicchio at (973) 267-7600.

Photos are available upon request.

TransOptions is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization celebrating 30 years of delivering programs and services to improve mobility, the environment and overall quality of life in northwestern New Jersey.