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Start Your Engines!

Exciting new summer camp at Neal Middle gears up student learning by racing with the NASCAR STEM initiative.

June 29, 2011 


Exciting new summer camp at Neal Middle gears up student learning by racing with the NASCAR STEM initiative.

Durham, NC – You are invited to the big race!

Students from Neal Middle School’s new Start Your Engines! summer camp have been designing, building, practicing and tweaking their remote-controlled race cars in preparation for the culminating race on Thursday, July 7.

As Neal Middle moves to its new model as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) school, this three-week camp is a component of the Neal Transformation Project. Using the Ten80 Racing Challenge curriculum, a part of the NASCAR STEM initiative, students are actively engaged in math, engineering and physics instruction, team building, goal setting, project management and problem solving – but their favorite part is driving the cars.

“Start Your Engines! is a wonderful example of linking rigor and relevance,” said Superintendent Eric J. Becoats. “This is a great kickoff for our STEM movement at Neal.”

In addition to the curricular content, the students are also becoming familiar with their new middle school. All 66 participants are rising 6th graders who are scheduled to attend Neal Middle beginning in the coming school year. A portion of their day includes meeting with a school counselor to prepare for life in middle school and a smooth transition.

“It’s amazing to me how their attitudes and their excitement levels have changed since the beginning. They just light up!” said Camp Manager Tashonda Vincent. “We get to sneak in some learning while they are having fun.”

A very special component of the camp was a trip to Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. Students were able to meet motorsport professionals and see firsthand both the equipment and commitment needed to be successful in this industry.

The end-of-camp Racing Challenge will take place in the Southern High gymnasium on Thursday, July 7 beginning at 10:30 a.m. Southern High is located at 800 Clayton Road, Durham 27703.


Tahira Stalberte                                                     
Chief Communications Officer                            
P. 919.560.9112                                                      
C. 919.358.8876                                                      

Jeff Nash
Communications Coordinator
P. 919.560.2602
C. 919.412.7947