On Dec. 9, students at St. Catherine Labouré School in Torrance competed in the first round of an automotive design competition sponsored by Honeywell Corporation and the Society for Automotive Engineers.

Eight teams of students worked for more than two months to build electric-powered vehicle prototypes, develop a business proposal and showcase their work in a public presentation with an accompanying video.

Julie Ha and volunteers from Honeywell supervised the project.

The student team Speedy Designs created the fastest vehicle in the competition. The multi-colored car finished the three-meter course in 2.38 seconds. A winner will be selected based on the vehicle’s speed, but also the effectiveness of their business plan and presentation.

In January, the winning team will continue on to a virtual competition against other teams from the U.S., Mexico, China, France and the Czech Republic.

“It’s easy for students to be excited about math and science when they’re working on a hands-on project like this one,” says school principal Jenny Bagheri. “We feel very fortunate to have Honeywell’s support as we move towards a project-based curriculum.”

The greater focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) has gained traction in schools as engineering firms in the U.S. struggle to find qualified employees. This program aims at fostering an interest of STEM in young people to create a prepared and diverse workforce.