EVX Team Recognized by President Obama


On Thursday September 16, 2010, I accompanied 4 members of the West Philly Hybrid X Team to the White House.  We were in town from the Awards Ceremony of the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE at the same time  President Barack Obama was announcing the creation of a new initiative to increase resources for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education. His initiative is called Change the Equation.Check out the video about our visit.


EVX Team members joined the CEOs of major corporations, the Secretary of Education, the President’s Science Advisor and two astronauts to hear the President’s speech. It was a speech that resonated with the EVX Team. After all, the President was calling for an investment in the education of America’s young people and how important it is to engage students around math and science.

Then, he talked about us. Watch the video the X PRIZE created or read what the President said:

And I want to encourage others to be part of this growing movement, to harness the incredible potential for our young people, for while this may be a difficult time for our nation, and we face some tough challenges, it’s that potential that ought to give us hope.

We need no better example than the students who are here today from West Philadelphia High School.  These students, under the direction of some terrific teachers, entered a global competition against serious corporate and college challengers to build a production-ready car that runs on very little fuel.  So as part of an after-school program, they worked to get their vehicles ready.  They tweaked the hybrid engine.  They figured out how to make their cars run more efficiently.

At first, the adults didn’t really think their team had a chance -- admit it.  But then something strange happened.  Where older and more seasoned teams failed, they succeeded, even making it through an elimination round.

Now, they didn’t win the competition.  They’re kids, come on.  But they did build a car that got more than 65 miles per gallon.  They went toe to toe with car companies and big-name universities.  They went against big-name universities, well-funded rivals.  They held their own.  They didn’t have a lot of money.  They didn’t have the best equipment.  They certainly didn’t have every advantage in life.  What they had was a program that challenged them to solve problems and to work together, to learn and build and create.  And that’s the kind of spirit and ingenuity that we have to foster.  That’s the potential that we can harness all across America.  That’s what will help our young people to fulfill their promise to realize their dreams and to help this nation succeed in the years to come.

And I just have to editorialize.  This is the kind of thing that just isn’t going to get a lot of attention initially.  This will not lead the nightly news.  You won’t see this on the cover of Roll Call or Politico.  It’s not -- doesn’t have conflict and controversy behind it.  (Laughter.)

But these are actually the kinds of things that 10 years from now, 20 years from now, we’re going to look back and say this is something that made a difference.  These are the kinds of things I’m really proud of.  It doesn’t get a lot of fanfare, but from the bottom up, it’s making a huge difference in our country.

As Team member Anita Davidson said, it's a pretty awesome feeling when the President of the United States mentions the West Philly Hybrid X Team in speech. It is amazing to be recognized by the President of the United States. It is even more amazing to get to work with these young people at the Auto Academy at West Philadelphia High School.

You can read the entire text of the President’s speech on the White House website. You can also see a complete video of the presentation. Please take a look. You’ll feel as awesome as we do.



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