Two teachers have harnessed the power of the sun — and provided an insanely cool science lesson in the process.
Charles Dazzo and Gerard D’Ambrosio serve as the mentors of the Green Tech Team at Staten Island’s Tottenville High School, which built a solar-powered car that scored second place in a national competition last year.
“I’m a firm believer that education — hands-on education — really works very well,” said Dazzo, 64, a social studies teacher.
That’s especially true when the hands-on lesson involves building a futuristic ride that looks like a speedboat on wheels.
Last year, they came close to winning it all at the Solar Car Challenge in Texas. This year, the team of eight kids will enter again, with what they hope is an even faster and more efficient car — one that looks like it came straight out of “The Jetsons.”
While last year’s solar speedster was just a frame, the new one has a sleek, carbon-fiber body, complete with “Solar Pirates” emblazoned on the front bumper. It can travel more than 300 miles on a single charge and reach speeds above 70 mph.
Watch video: http://nydn.us/1kug0Cm
“It’s a beautiful looking machine,” Dazzo said.
D’Ambrosio, 47, an automotive technology teacher, said seeing the students’ finished product on the racetrack is one of the most rewarding aspects of his job.
“The competition for me, is one of the greatest things,” said D’Ambrosio, of New Jersey. “And working with all the kids has been a pleasure.”
Dazzo, who handles fundraising for the after-school program that has about 20 participants, added that Tottenville High is the only city school represented at the elite competition.
“We’re very proud to represent New York City,” said Dazzo, who lives in the Prince’s Bay neighborhood of Staten Island.
For teaching students mechanical, environmental and engineering skills, along with the joy of competition, D’Ambrosio and Dazzo have been nominated for Daily News Hometown Hero in Education awards.
D’Ambrosio, who provides guidance on how to build the car, said several former students have pursued degrees in environmental engineering.
* BY JACLYN ANGLIS, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Tuesday, July 15, 2014