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The Discovery Middle School Heatwave Club, which consists of (left to right) Cynthia Pitman, Lucas Magnuson, Greger Peterson and Alex (AJ) Bollman, earned first place in the Solar Boat Regatta on May 18 at Lake Phalen. (Contributed photo)

Heatwave Club is first at solar regatta

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Alexandria Discovery Middle School (DMS) students involved in the school's Heatwave Club took first place at the 21st annual Minnesota Renewable Energy Society's (MRES) Solar Boat Regatta. This was the second year in a row that a DMS team has captured the first place honor.

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Team members include 8th graders Alec (AJ) Bollman and Cynthia Pitman, and 9th graders Lucas Magnuson and Greger Peterson.

This year's competition was held Saturday, May 18 on Lake Phalen. Approximately 15 middle school and high school teams from Alexandria, Apple Valley, Long Lake, Minneapolis, Rochester, St. Paul and Virginia competed.

The competition requires students to build solar boats, or adapt boats, to run on solar power for the regatta. The regatta consists of speed, slalom and endurance races. The races are designed to educate students about solar energy, design and engineering.

The boats make use of the sun's radiation, which generates electricity and is either stored in a battery or used directly to run the boat's electric motor. No other power source is allowed.

The DMS Heatwave Club provides pre-engineering enrichment opportunities for 7th, 8th and 9th grade students with an interest in engineering challenges. The club is sponsored by 3M Alexandria.

For students interested in more information, contact John Holmen, Heatwave Club advisor, at (320) 762-7900 or jholmen@alexandria.k12.mn.us.

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