NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Students at Desert Rose High School learn everything from engineering to construction. They even learn how to build a car, and not just any car – an electric car.
It took students five months, but they learned how to convert a car with an internal combustion engine into one that runs on electricity.
Teacher Mel Brooks started the program.
"The point was to get them interested in alternative energies, in the hybrids, in the electric vehicles, because that's the technology coming, and that's what they are going to have to know," he said. "They were quite excited. A lot of them that I had, it was the first time they had a wrench in their hand."
Brooks conceived the idea, and the principal helped him implement it.
"I was talking about building an electric car with this stuff, and I said, ‘Yes, my students can do it.' So, she went ahead and funded it for us," Brooks said.
The students did it and loved it. The car can reach a top speed of 35 miles per hour. It is not street legal, but building it has given the students the confidence to turn their mechanical interest into a career.
"We are learning a lot there - how much water works. The engine has to have (a specific) temperature. We are learning a lot of stuff," said one student. "My goal is college, so I can be mechanic certified."
Kim Een has been a teacher in Clark County for 30 years. He's helping his students convert another car that will be street legal.
"We bought a kit that will change the power into an electric motor that runs on one hundred and twenty volts," he said.
He says the students learn so much more than building a car. They're learning how to build a future.
"We hope the best for the students here at Desert Rose," he said "Hopefully, we are trying to spark their interest and keep them going and make themselves a better citizen."
You can also vote for your favorite program. Each month, 8 News NOW awards the program with the most votes $250.