TOP GEAR OPEN DOORS FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
By: Winston Sibanda
It was all cheers at the Suncoast Sun Zone as high schools battled it out to win the Top Gear F1 technology competition on Saturday.
Durban University of Technology (DUT) was one of the main sponsors of the event along with the Department of Transport. Alan Khan, head of the institution’s cooperate affairs, described the competition as a project set to promote creativity among high school students and a stepping stone for those who have a passion for engineering.
“F1 competition is a community outreach programme globally. Its aim is to work with high school students and help them with engineering elements,” said Khan.
David Scragg who was part of the team, said the racing experience was an exciting and nervous process. He said that the project was a learning experience since the teams designed and marketed their models to get sponsorship.
This year’s champions were the Honey Badges team which represented Clifton College. They were awarded bursaries to study engineering at DUT.
Since the F1 competition started last year, the sport was dominated by males. However, this year’s competition introduced female teams. Durban Girls College’s “Team Alpha” broke gender barriers and came third in the competition. One of the team members, Christella Muligande, said the day was not about winning. She said that for her it was about girls being part of the competition which she described as a mission.
Muligande said, “Today is the greatest day for feminists throughout the world we are doing it for the girls. We would have been happy if we had beaten Clifton College because it is our brother school.”
Head of Communication of Educor Jessie Naidoo, said Educor had sponsored three teams. One of the teams they sponsored was the Durban Girls College. She said their goal was to uplift children in secondary schools and support technology and engineering in schools.
In his closing remarks, Khan applauded the teams for their creativity. He urged students to take the initiative seriously. He informed the audience about Gordon Murray who is a former DUT student who designs F1 McLaren racing cars. He told competitors to stay positive and aim higher.