Go Public's Cool Schools Winner: September 2017

SAN ANTONIO – Solar-powered and student-built - the engineering club at Southwest Legacy High School is paving the road for opportunities by building cars from scratch.

"When I first came to Southwest, they told me that these kids all ride the bus and they won't be able to stay after school," said Bob Franz, Instructor. "And then they did and they said well they probably can't get here on Saturday and they did."

These students have built five cars and competed in electrothons across the country.

Mr. Franz says it's a way for students to apply science and math into something they enjoy.

"I mean sitting down in the classroom is real nice, but when you work on a large scale project and especially as a team you don't get to have a sense of what engineering is," said Manuel Arteaga, a senior at Southwest Legacy.

All the students have their roles.

"The one thing we feel about this program is that it's not a gifted and talented program," Mr. Franz said. "We have some of the top GPAs working alongside of some kids who may be called "at risk" or reluctant learners. But they come and put all of the hours in here and all of a sudden it changes who they are."

And for some, like Autumn Rodriguez, this club is life-changing.

"Growing up I didn’t know what I wanted to be so once two of my middle school teachers encouraged me to be a part of engineering, I felt really encouraged to do the same."

Rodriguez now encourages other young girls around campus to join the club.

"Our kids are just as bright as any kids in San Antonio, by giving them the after school experience, to build and use the math and science that they have learned, it makes it real for them they take ownership of their learning, they take responsibility in their project," Franz said. "They get to do things in high school that most kids don't get to do until they're in college."

Legacy High School received 2,211 votes to win the September We Go Public Cool School contest.

Next month, we will feature Edgewood Independent School District..

About the Author:

Jennifer Tobias-Struski loves her hometown of San Antonio, and is proud to celebrate it every day working on SA Live. The Emmy-Award winning producer hosts the Mom-Day series, featuring fun, family-themed segments from crafting to fashion hacks every Monday.