Monday, January 20, 2020
US flag

Girls in Belvidere sure know how to build a motor

Whoever said women don’t know anything about cars had never met those on the girls’ engine team at Belvidere North High School in Illinois.


(student newspaper)

In fact, there’s an entire national network for high school engine teams, and many of those teams, though not all, are all girls. Two girls’ teams from Belvidere North recently qualified for and competed at a national competition in Indianapolis, according to a report in The North View, the student newspaper at the school.

The organization that sets up the national tournaments, Hot Rodders of Tomorrow, reports that in 2015, more than 150 teams from across the country competed in 12 qualifying events for the national championship, which involves two separate finals rounds.

It’s considered a dual national championship, with some events taking place at the Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis and some at the SEMA, or Specialty Equipment Market Association, show in Las Vegas. This year, North went to Indianapolis, last year to Las Vegas.

The student newspaper reported that one team from Belvidere North finished fourth in Indianapolis, but Voxitatis was unable to confirm the final placement in the dual national competition.

In other words, these northern Illinois students know how to build an engine. And they’re fast. Typical times for top national finishers are in the 20-minute range.

Qualifying times for the 2016 engine team national competition

  1. Fort Valley (Peach Co.), Ga., 18:05
  2. Salem (Burton Ctr. for Arts & Tech [Team 4]), Va., 19:38
  3. Woodbridge (Hyolten), Va., 19:42
  4. Cumming (Forsyth Central), Ga., 20:15
  5. Elkhart (Area Career Ctr.), Ind., 20:24
  6. East Ridge, Tenn., 20:33
  7. Salem (Burton Ctr. for Arts & Tech [Team 1]), Va., 22:53
  8. Anaheim (Katella), Calif., 23:03
  9. Palatine (Fremd), Ill., 23:26
  10. Stevensville (Lakeshore), Mich., 23:28
  11. Belvidere (North [Team 2]), Ill., 23:29
  12. Chambersburg (Franklin Co. Career & Tech Ctr.), Penn., 23:57
  13. Belvidere (North [Team 1]), Ill., 24:10
  14. Broken Arrow (Tulsa Tech Ctr.), Okla., 24:30

The tournaments are based on a race against the clock. Teams are given a car engine and tasked with taking it apart and reassembling it. The team that finishes first wins.

In addition to the travel, which is great, of course, the engine team brings a few other benefits: Students get a jump start on a career in the automotive industry, if that’s what they want, and can even get recognition for their fun activity, which can lead to scholarships.

There’s yet another advantage to being a competitor on these teams, though: Students develop a skill that’s sorely lacking even in many adults.

“If your car breaks down and you need to get it fixed, knowing where all the parts are and how they function can be essential,” writes reporter Will Sieracki for The North View.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Feds boost Bay funding

Restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed received a boost in federal funding in the budget Congress passed last month.

Md. & IL bands perform on New Year’s in...

Bands from IL and Md. once again entertained thousands of people who lined the streets of London and Rome on New Year's Day.

Howard Co. sounds an under-staffing alarm

Teachers in a Md. district have filed a grievance over missing planning and lunch periods and, as a result, putting the most vulnerable students at risk.

Top 11 school stories of 2019

We find these 11 stories to have the greatest potential for influencing activity and direction in schools for the near future.

Girls’ volleyball champs in Illinois

We congratulate the Illinois state champions in girls' volleyball: Newark, St Teresa, Sterling, & Benet Academy.

A weekend of ‘band geeks’ across America

The musical Band Geeks was in performance at a MD high school, just as marching bands from across America named a national champion.

2 dead, 3 wounded in Calif. school shooting

Another school shooting has resulted in the death of 2 California high school students. The suspect shot himself and is in custody.

Mercury makes a transit; next in 2032

A transit of Mercury occurred today and was visible from the US, provided you had sunny skies. It was one of longest possible transits.

On the Naperville BWW racist incident

A racist incident at a Naperville, IL, sports bar indicates that the threads of racism are strong, perhaps as strong as ever.

IL bill could excuse absences to vote

A proposed law in IL could give students up to two hours during the school day so they could vote in the upcoming election.

Loan forgiveness gains some bipartisan support

One Republican from GA, who used to work under Betsy DeVos at the US Education Dept, offers a plan to forgive some student loan debt.