Boyle Heights' Los STEMateros Places 13 in World Finals at Hydrogen Grand Prix Competition

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 22, 2023 ~ The Boyle Heights S.T.E.M. Magnet High School's team, Los STEMateros, recently competed in the 2023 Horizon Hydrogen Grand Prix (H2GP) World Finals, placing 13th out of 26 high school teams from around the world. This was the first time Los STEMateros had participated in the H2GP and they advanced to the World Finals after qualifying at regional and state finals with a hydrogen-powered, remote-control fuel cell car that they designed and built themselves.

Los STEMateros were one of 10 Title 1 LAUSD high school teams sponsored by SoCalGas' Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) program. Last week, SoCalGas donated an additional $3,000 to help the school pay for the student's trip to the World Finals in Las Vegas September 11-14.

"SoCalGas is proud to support initiatives that empower the next generation of engineers and scientists," said Neil Navin, Chief Clean Fuels Officer of SoCalGas. "The transition to clean energy is an environmental and social imperative, and SoCalGas is accelerating the transition by advancing the use of clean fuels, such as hydrogen, in support of California's climate goals."

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At the event, over 200 students from 13 countries competed in a six-hour endurance race with Oakwood School (North Hollywood) winning first place for the 2nd year in a row followed by teams from Slovakia and The Netherlands in 2nd and 3rd places respectively. Another LAUSD team STEAM Legacy Senior High Sci Tech Engineering Arts Math (South Gate) placed 7th overall.

"Clean energy in California is projected to grow by 400% by 2045," said Matthew Mihm, Principal at Boyle Heights S.T.E.M Magnet High School "Our students are learning skills that are essential to California's energy transition." He added that participating in H2GP provides students with a hands-on experience that takes what they learn in class and applies it meaningfully while also providing them with greater access to understanding renewable energy which will define their future careers.

Israel Hernandez, Coach of Los STEMateros who teaches math, computer-aided design and machining at Boyle Heights S.T.E.M Magnet High School said "Growing up in Boyle Heights we did not have S.T.E.M classes like this which is why I want to ensure our students have opportunities like this so they are prepared for a multitude of future careers."

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H2GP was developed by Horizon Educational as an educational program providing students with curriculum materials to build remote-controlled fuel cell electric vehicles at nearly 500 schools which then compete at local and state levels equipping them with knowledge needed for transitioning energy infrastructure into renewable energy sources for future generations .

Jorge Sorto , junior at Boyle Heights S.TEM Magnet High School who was also team captain of Los STEMateros said "This was an incredible experience for our team giving us a hands on experience for topics we are all very interested in learning about." He added "I am really proud of my teammates and how we have grown together learning about fuel cell technology and hydrogen energy."

SoCalGas' ASPIRE 2045 sustainability commitment includes goals such as safety , DE&I workplace initiatives as well as investing $50 million into underserved communities . In addition to funding Los STEMateros , SoCalGas sponsored another 9 teams at 5 LAUSD Title 1 schools . The company's Scholarship Program provides resources for higher education & career development designed to support students interested in pursuing careers within the energy industry . Since its inception over 22 years ago , SoCalGas has provided 2236 students with scholarships totaling $3 , 599 , 500 .
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