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  • Writer's pictureCollege 1st Program

Jubilee Academies GEAR UP Challenges Students to Develop Electric Vehicles Amidst Climate Crisis

Updated: 5 days ago

February 7, 2024

Jubilee Lakeview GEAR UP students pose in excitement before starting the Electric Vehicle race competition. Photo by: Ivan Aguillon

Written by: Jaden De Leon

The frequency of extreme weather events has nearly doubled in the past decade compared to the previous century. Wildfires, fueled by hotter temperatures and drier conditions, now consume an area the size of a football field every second, according to data from The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). Meanwhile, hurricanes and typhoons, strengthened by warmer ocean waters, are intensifying, leaving behind unprecedented devastation. These are not distant threats; they're issues our planet is currently facing due to rising temperatures driven by humanity's energy habits and the burning of fossil fuels.

Recognizing the need for environmental awareness, Jubilee Academies GEAR UP, in collaboration with the College 1st Program, introduced an Earth Science CAMP initiative aimed at educating students about the environmental challenges we face. Through this program, students became familiar with various natural science disciplines such as geology, meteorology, oceanography, and astronomy. Additionally, they explored the causes of natural disasters, studied different ecosystems, and analyzed the impacts of climate change on our planet.

According to NASA, scientists predict the temperature will continue to rise due to many factors, but especially greenhouse gasses produced by human activities. In fact, human emissions have already warmed the planet by nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average global temperature is expected to reach 3 degrees Fahrenheit within the next few years. This temperature rise will have catastrophic effects. The global sea level has risen 8 inches since 1880 and is expected to rise another foot, causing more floods and sinking of cities along the coastlines. According to, scientists have agreed internationally that human-caused emissions need to drop by 45% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 in order to prevent irreversible climate changes.

With this newfound knowledge, students were encouraged to use their critical thinking skills to create innovative solutions for the betterment of our planet. Some students chose to address natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, with inventions designed to assist the general population. Others directed their inventive spirit toward tackling environmental issues like pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The students were motivated to create the solutions that they wanted to see in the future.

“This Earth Science CAMP was so cool because we learned about the earth and how to protect it,” said Joshua Brown, a student from Jubilee San Antonio. “I know this is gonna help me for my future.”

Jubilee Westwood Academy GEAR UP students use their creative and critical thinking skills to build their own Electric Vehicle. Photo by: Ivan Aguillon

Although climate change is a real and concerning issue, the students were made aware of the solutions they can take as individuals and as a community to help slow its effects. Students learned about everyday solutions like walking or bike riding to reduce greenhouse gases, as well as conserving energy such as heat and electricity that are powered by coal, oil, and gas. They also were introduced to renewable resources like solar, wind, and water power that help produce energy in a clean way.

Students engaged in hands-on activities centered around electric vehicle technology. They collaborated to design and build miniature EV prototypes, exploring concepts of renewable energy and sustainable transportation. A study from The University of Exeter states that if only 50% of drivers made the switch to electric, carbon emissions would be reduced by 1.5 gigatons per year. Through experimentation and teamwork, they gained insights into the potential of electric vehicles to combat climate change.

According to The United States Environmental Protection Agency, although the electricity used to charge electric vehicles may cause carbon pollution, electric vehicles have no tailpipe emissions, and research shows that they have overall lower carbon emissions than gasoline cars. While electric vehicles are not the full solution to the climate crisis on their own, they are a step towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

Jubilee Brownsville GEAR UP students use their communication and critical thinking skills to work in teams to build their Electric Vehicle for the race competition. Photo by: Ivan Aguillon

With the provided materials, students engaged their creativity, assembling prototype electric vehicles fueled by renewable energy. They applied engineering principles, collaborating to design their own EVs, aiming to have the greatest steering and be the swiftest to complete a racing course. These vehicles underwent rigorous testing as students competed for the first-place title.

“My favorite activity was the electric car building because it helped me understand more about engineering and it inspired me to do it on a bigger scale… this camp gives students more experience and helps them with the career path they want,” said Juan Fernandez, a student from Jubilee San Antonio.

A group of Jubilee Highland Hills GEAR UP students testing the Electric Vehicle they built for the final race. Photo by: Ivan Aguillon

In the end, while students were faced with the challenges our planet faces today, they also left with the motivation to be a part of the solution to those challenges. They were even provided with a list of careers that encouraged their passion for saving the earth.

“Today was a great day because we learned a lot about the career paths we could take… I think this opens up my mind to a lot of different opportunities and possibilities to more colleges and careers,” shared Wyloh VanTassel, a Jubilee Harlingen student. “It really motivates me to keep pushing myself and my education and be the best I can be and be college ready!” VanTassel concluded.

All College 1st CAMPs can be customized to include Reading and Writing (ELA), Math, Science, and Social Studies State Test Standards at the Elementary, Middle School, and High School Level.

For more information about Jubilee Academies, please contact them at 210-333-6227 or visit their website at College 1st is a joint initiative implemented in partnership with visionary leaders from school districts, education service centers, and post-secondary institutions across the State of Texas to empower students for college, career, and life success. For more details about the program, please visit our website at or call us at 1-877-499-8544.

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