News & Announcements

DA Participates in International Jr. Solar Sprint Race


Denver, Colo. (May 13, 2019) - Star innovators and engineers from Denver Academy (DA) in the U.S. and Fairgreen International School (Fairgreen) in Dubai competed in the second International Jr. Solar Sprint Race this spring. The learners designed and engineered solar model cars to race under the sun on their respective sides of the planet. This is the only international school solar sprint race. Race teams competed for a highly coveted prize of a $100 iTunes gift card!
The Million Solar Stars (MSS) Challenge is an initiative to engage one million students in the process of scaling up solar power at 100% schools around the world. Students build solar models and then inspire their schools to scale up solar with pilot and commercial installations. The International Jr. Solar Sprint demonstrated how learning about solar can be fun, competitive, and scalable.

The international partnership between Denver Academy and Million Solar Stars began in 2018. The initiative provides hands-on learning of the process of creating and racing solar model cars. It includes design, engineering, and problem-solving, as well as the added excitement of competition across the globe.
The 2019 races took place on different dates this spring at both DA and Fairgreen, while teachers verified and uploaded race times to the International Jr. Solar Sprint Race Leader Board. Originally scheduled to take place during STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Week at Denver Academy in March, the race was postponed due to a blizzard in Denver. The DA race took place on April 8 and participants had the opportunity to hear a presentation by Stefan Wilson, a professional Indy 500 race car driver who lives in the Denver area. The driver, who almost won the 2018 Indianapolis 500, talked to the students about the science of racing and the importance of solar. Also, the company SimpliPhi Power was on campus to demonstrate their company's solar technology through a sound system powered by solar. Photos of the Denver Academy race are available here.

The Fairgreen race in Dubai took place on March 3. It included a partnership with Akon Lighting America and a visit at the event by philanthropist, business mogul and five-time Grammy-nominated artist, Akon. There were 35 young innovators who competed in the race. Further details on the Fairgreen race can be found via the event press release. Watch a video highlighting the race here.
Fairgreen Science Teacher/Million Solar Stars Representative, Adam Hall spearheaded the Dubai race. “This year’s International Jr. Solar Sprint was a big success as student engineers competed with their solar model race cars from Dubai to Denver. Thanks to Akon and Stefan Wilson for supporting the Million Solar Stars Challenge and celebrating the students as Stars,” said Mr. Hall.
Denver Academy Teacher Mr. Brookhart was the DA race leader and commented, “The DA solar race was an exciting event this year; Simpliphi, Stefan Wilson and a surprise appearance from Adam Hall made it an epic occasion. While the postponement of the original race-date (due to the cyclone blizzard in Denver) hurt many of the teams due to lost parts and team disputes, we had some outstanding designs and fast cars. With Dubai winning this year, it gives us extra motivation for next year as the international race record is now tied at one and one!”  

The International Jr. Solar Sprint Race is inspired by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) Model Car Competitions for:
  • Generating enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)
  • Improving students' understanding of scientific concepts and renewable energy technologies
  • Encouraging young people to consider technical careers at an early age
For more information, visit:

About Denver Academy
Celebrating 47 years in 2019, Denver Academy (DA) was founded on the maxim that students thrive when taught in the way they learn best. DA is one of the top schools in the nation dedicated to teaching diverse learners, including non-traditional learners, as well as those with dyslexia and ADHD. Denver Academy’s innovative, proven learning model is based on the balanced application of classroom management, information processing, and academic literacy. Small class sizes of 12-14 students facilitate student- centered differentiated instruction. Flexible placement and several academic levels within each core subject, including Honors classes and advanced coursework, allow faculty to teach to each student’s optimal level. For more information, visit
About Fairgreen International School (Dubai)
With an exceptional, future-focused educational ethos, built on the cornerstones of academic achievement and sustainability, Fairgreen International School in Dubai will empower students to innovate sustainable solutions to global challenges. Located in The Sustainable City, Fairgreen is a candidate school with the International Baccalaureate, able to implement the PYP and MYP in its first year of operation. Fairgreen is an Esol Education school, part of a family of high performing international schools in locations such as Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Cairo, Nicosia and Lebanon.
About Million Solar Stars & the MSS Challenge
The International Jr. Solar Sprint is spearheaded by Million Solar Stars and is part of the Million Solar Stars Challenge (MSS Challenge) being developed by teachers, students, and solar industry influencers. The focus of the MSS Challenge is to engage students with the process of building solar models, and to expedite the installation of pilot and commercial solar arrays to improve educational, environmental, and economic performance at 100% of schools around the world. The MSS Challenge welcomes students, teachers, community members, celebrities, and corporations to leverage their Star Power and resources to expand solar power at schools.
(Additional photos and video available upon request.)