Newtownabbey pupils get ‘bat car’ in top gear

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Pupils at Newtownabbey Community High School have shown off their engineering skills by building a battery-powered racing car.

The budding engineers took their ‘Abbey Bat’ car to Nutts Corner race circuit where it was put to the test in races against ‘green machines’ built by students from schools and colleges across Ireland.

The team of Year 10 pupils from Newtownabbey Community High School (NCHS) created the ‘Abbey Bat’ as part of the Greenpower kit car project - a UK-wide initiative run by The Greenpower Education Trust which aims to advance education in the subjects of sustainable engineering and technology.

Through building and racing their ‘green energy’ cars, the young people learn about the importance of engineering and associated STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects.

Thanks to the success of their Abbey Bat creation, the NCHS pupils have helped ensure that their new school - Abbey Community College - gets off to a racing start.

Final preparations are being made for the opening of the new college in Monkstown this September following the merger of Newtownabbey Community High and Monkstown Community School.

The Abbey Bat team, which previously raced its car at Goodwood, has had support from a number of backers, including Tesco, Michelin, Hayley Group and Chain Reaction Cycles. The pupils have also teamed up with Newtownabbey PSNI with a view to using the car to help promote the road safety message within local schools.

“The police were delighted with the school’s vision and enthusiasm and during a meeting with the team they decided to apply a new road safety message to the car,” explained teacher Gary Armstrong, the school’s Greenpower project co-ordinator.

“The pupils, working alongside Constable Montgomery, came up with the road safety slogan ‘Drive Safe, Arrive Safe’ which was applied to the car with the PSNI badge.

“It is the intention of the school and the police to continue our road safety campaign by taking the car into local primary schools as part of talks about road safety issues.

“This is a fabulous opportunity for our pupils to showcase their car and for the PSNI to deliver an invaluable road safety message to hundreds of local school children,” he added.