Fast Times at West Philly High(0:31) On July 17, disadvantaged high school students compete for a $10M auto-building prize.
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Follow @GretchenMargJuly 17, 2012, 11:10 am ET
We can’t think of a lede that’s better than the one written today by the Philadelphia Daily News‘ Ronnie Polaneczky:
Polaneczky is talking about tonight’s film, Fast Times at West Philly High, which chronicles a group of inner-city high school students as they prepare for the 2010 Progressive Automotive X Prize competition. And by “prepare” we mean “build two super-hybrid cars from scratch that can get 100 miles-per-gallon.” And by “competition” we mean “go head-to-head with some of the most talented (and well-funded) engineers and universities around the world.”
The total prize money up for grabs? $10 million.
It’s no small feat for the students and their teacher, Simon Hauger, who built the program from scratch to reach some of West Philly High’s smartest, and most disengaged, kids. Polaneczky writes:
Along with Hill, you’ll meet Samantha Wright, a student brimming with smarts who missed school due to family obligations; Justin Carter, who was bullied and admits to skipping out on most of his classes during 9th grade; and Jacques Wells, a student who fell in love with cars at West Philly High.
“We can be just as innovative as the CEO’s of Ford, GM, Honda, Nissan,” he says. “And we don’t even have diplomas yet.”
Watch the Fast Times at West Philly High trailer above, and tune in for the full film tonight on PBS (check your local listings).
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