Green Racers

Written By Maggie Weaver

Hamilton County schools race their electric cars in the Chattanooga Green Prix. The race put on by Green Spaces Chattanooga was a part of a STEM learning project for over 40 schools in the Chattanooga area. Saturday, November 20, 2021. Photo by Maggie Weaver.

In 2017 green|spaces Chattanooga started a hands-on program to encourage STEM learning in Hamilton County students through designing and building race cars. The Chattanooga Green Prix, this year held at the Bend in downtown Chattanooga, allowed hundreds of students from 40+ schools to put their full-sized, functioning electric power race cars to the test.

Students of all ages were challenged in Slalom, Circuit, and Drag race courses. Middle and High School students also endured a grueling 90 minute race to determine a winner based on who could complete the most laps in the time frame.

Gabrielle Chevalier, the Communications and Community Outreach Coordinator for green|spaces said that she was excited to put on this event and “reinvigorate the people who were so disheartened last year” because of COVID.

The electric cars race down by the river front with a stunning view of the Chattanooga Aquarium. People from all over Hamilton County cheered on the students as they sped passed. Saturday, November 20, 2021. Photo by Maggie Weaver.

“It’s just a really important STEM education program. You’re not just teaching kids how to fix cars or the importance of electric vehicles. You’re also keeping the jobs within the state of Tennessee, and then also preparing [the students] for a workforce for a wide range of engineering positions and problem solving roles,” says Chevalier.

Each team was not only judged on their car’s performance, but also on their presentation skills and teamwork efforts by providing a summary of their vision for future cars and what they have learned through the process.

Chevalier’s favorite part of events such as the Green Prix is “building these kids up and getting them ready to think about those kinds of future forward careers, and letting them know that they can build a future that’s different from what we have now.”

The kits for building the race cars cost around $5,000, so increasing public visibility and awareness in the community is a big part of broadening access to make sure that everyone can participate, learn and have the same opportunities. 

The platform for green|spaces is sustainability made simple and their main goal is to make lives more sustainable for community members and individuals. Chevalier and others on her team strive to broaden the definition of what sustainability means to people in terms of how they can work with policy and the government, and also communities to help them empower themselves.

Chattanooga Green Prix volunteers help an Orchard Knob Middle School student prepare for the race. Car 13 went on to win 2nd overall in the F-24 Middle School Modified race, as well as the Bill Perry Perseverance Award. Saturday, November 20, 2021. Photo by Maggie Weaver

“We’re always looking for volunteers,” says Chevalier. “Giving your time or even just sharing social media posts [helps] us get the word out. There’s a lot of different ways to get involved and you don’t all have to do the same thing. You don’t have to be able to do everything in order to be helpful.”


Maggie Weaver is a photojournalist and performer based out of Chattanooga, Tennessee. She has over a decade of theater experience and uses her leadership and artistic skills to tell stories about the human experience and raw compassion through her camera lense. Her experiences working in leadership with youth community theater camps continues to inspire her to pursue new stories that bring the community together. To contact Maggie, email mmweaver99@gmail.com.

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