By: Masiti Jeilani
This week at MINDDRIVE we had a surprise visit: MacNeil Lehrer Productions, a well-known and established broadcast journalism company, will be making a story for their online news. It will be featured on the.News, an educational segment for high school students. We couldn’t let them have all the fun, so we turned the tables and interviewed their producer, Paul Malkie.
Paul found out about MINDDRIVE while researching electric cars. He found it to be an interesting story and made the trip down to Kansas City to visit the shop. He noticed that there is such a positive vibe here. Paul came in to talk to the communications class and tell the group how he got started in the media industry. To the surprise of the class he majored in history in college and unexpectedly ended up in the broadcast industry. From his past experience he said to do what you enjoy for a career in order to be happy.
MINDDRIVE is a varied group with people from all different walks of life. When asked where he sees the media industry heading, he responded, “I see it becoming much more diverse and voices across different platforms.” This sounds a lot like MINDDRIVE!
It was great having the MacNeil/Lehrer production company here today. I enjoyed watching and learning about the behind the scenes workings of a professional organization. Hopefully I will use what I learned today throughout the year at MINDDRIVE. I can’t wait to see the new story when it comes out and I hope it spreds the word about what we do at MINDDRIVE!
Xavier and Kiani are new members of the MINDDRIVE’s 2013 program. Both are participants in the communications class and were both asked about their aspirations for the year and what they hope to learn from their experience.
“I want to learn how to improve my public speaking skills”, said Kiani. “I want to be comfortable in front of an audience and be able to comfortably talk about any subject. Last year, other students where asked to write a letter to someone they wanted to meet that inspired them; a lot of students received responses. I want to study fashion design in college and if they can do that, I want to get in touch with somebody that can help me start my career-somebody who can relate to my opinions”.
Xavier hopes to use MINDDRIVE as an outlet for his passion to write. “I joined MINDDRIVE because I felt like it was an opportunity to do one thing I love to do: write. On the first day of classes, I said something I’ve never felt comfortable saying out loud before-’I love to write!’ I know MINDDRIVE is going to help me expand my skills”.
He also talked about how he felt a sense of acceptance at the program. “I needed a place where I could be my goofy, energetic and passionate self without being an outsider. I was with peers who had the same feelings and wanted to fit in, too. Yeah, I play sports at school and I don’t exactly feel excluded from friends, but I couldn’t go up to the guys and say, ‘Hey, let’s do an open mic at the coffee house!’ I don’t want to have to wear that mask everywhere I go. For once, MINDDRIVE is the place where I can take that mask off and be who I truly am.”
Today in Minddrive, the Automotive Class discussed the following subjects. First they discussed the differences between a Ford Mustang GT500 & a New GM Corvette. The Mustang seems to to have more horsepower (HP) but is heavier. On the other hand, the Corvette is more aerodynamic. The group also discussed plans for changing the front of the Karmann Ghia. They plan to change the shape by putting the headlights in the center, and where the headlights were will be covered with metal. They are looking into the process of metal spinning to change this form.
Metal spinning is a metalworking process also known as spin forming, by which a disc or tube of metal is rotated at a high speed and then form into a axially symmetric part. Spinning can be performed by hand or by CNC lathe. This is a piece of art work.
Written By: Xavier Hernandez-Johnson
Thanksgiving: a time to eat all you want and, simply put, pig out
But you should never forget exactly what Thanksgiving is for
It’s for being grateful and thankful for the things you have
The things I’m grateful for are being able to have a family that cares about me
Having a heart that, no matter how many times it gets broken, is still able to show love
Having a brain that, no matter what is put in front of it, is able to always learn something
Having a mouth that, even though it has the power to destroy, uplifts everyone around
Having hands that are always reaching out and pulling people out of ruts
Having eyes that only see the good in people cause everyone deserves a chance
Having ears that are always open and ready to listen to people’s problems
Having muscles that, no matter how big the problem, are always willing to help you carry it
Having a soul that can go past all the bad and take me right to that silver lining
Finally, I’m thankful for hope that allows me to stay strong and keep an open mind as I press my way towards the glorious goals of my life.
By: Xavier and Masiti
Eletricidad are currently working on cleaning out the rust that is stuck on the bottom of the car by using power sanders. The hardest part so far has been trying to get the paint off the inside of the trunk; it’s like a big pimple that no matter how much you try to get rid of it the pimple just won’t leave. The students are getting adjusted to learning how to take apart a car and familiarizing themselves with the many parts and components a car uses.
When asked about the students’ progress on the car, mentor Walter Accurso said “It’s not great progress it’s phenomenal progress that’s the word that you want to use: Phenomenal.” The car, bought in Denver, was in decent condition. It had a creamy white color and was a nice low rider. To match the other teams’ cars, Eletricidad will raise the car and change the color to metallic blue. That is why it is so important to get the rust off the car so the paint is evenly distributed.
This year MINDDRIVE has divided students and mentors into five teams, Electric Phoenix, Electricidad, Voltage Vipers, Zap, and team Final Charge. They have worked on four Karman Ghia and Lola. This has been their overall progress through this Fall 2013
Overall Electric Phoenix is working on the operating part of the car. They are working on the batteries and reattaching the steering. Most of the team said working on the engine was the best part of working on the car because it was the hardest. Some people said that this was just a great experience to help them with their future career. Two of their biggest challenges has been taking out the engine and working under the car.
Team Electricida said that they were currently working on measuring the batteries for a new battery box. Some students have said that the experience of working hands on was the best part of this. Measuring the battery box has been the hardest part to understand, since this has been their first year working on a Karman Ghia they haven’t understood its just yet, but they will.
Team Voltage Vipers are determined to be the first car done. Since their car was the one in worst shape, they have made sure to put more effort on fixing everything needed. Their biggest struggle has been taking off the rust from the car. Since the car had been worked on last year, they sure have a big advantage on the other teams. Their biggest reward is to see the car finished and painted Porsche silver. The Voltage Vipers are working hard to make it to the top!
Team Zap is working on new fragments on the frame for the Lola. This has been their hardest struggle, “framing the Lola is a big responsibly; we are making sure everything is precise” one of the team members said. Not only is it their biggest struggle but it is the most fun they have had, “we love a challenge”, says Victoria Mendez. They are not only working on the Lola but they also made a foam model for a Karmann Ghia. Team Zap is willing to take a challenge and do more then what’s needed.
Team One, also known as Final Charge has made some serious progress the past few weeks. Team one has completely removed the transmission from their Karmann Ghia and they’re 75% done with changing the brake system. Currently, Final Charge is creating a battery box of 6 lithium Ion batteries to power its Karmann Ghia. They’re creating space inside the car for the battery box to sit which is also unique to team one’s KG. Daniel and Varissa from team one both agreed the transmission and brake system were fun to work on because of how much effort and teamwork that was needed. On the same token, both of them agreed that the rust from these old cars has made working on them a challenge, but a fun one at that!
Written by: Andrew Treas
There I was: In a small briefing room on Capitol Hill thinking, “This is it. Everything I’ve been working towards in the last seven months has led to this, the most important speech of my life”. I had traveled over a thousand miles, touring colleges and giving speeches to excited students and supportive professors all along the way but nothing could compare to this. Making a presentation to a congressional comittee while Congress was in session, voting on the only reason I was there; Experiental Education. I was pumped. I knew that my audiance of eighty or more politicans would have all eyes on me, so I had to give it all, as I do everything I’m passionate about.
I started off with an introduction. “Thank you all so much for taking the time to come today, it’s an honor to be in a room with such an important group.” My voice was shaky dues to my nervousness. “I’m Andrew Treas, I am an upcoming senior, and I’m here with a group called MINDDRIVE. In the last week, we drove our electric 1967 Karman Ghia from Kansas City, Missouri all the way through Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland”, “We are a group of at-risk teens, and when I started the program, I was no exception. During the two years of high school before I joined MINDDRIVE, all that mattered to me was partying and drugs.” I paused and looked around. I could tell everyone felt my pain. “I’ve always struggled in school due to ADD and dyslexia. I always questioned what I was being taught because I never had the slightest idea of how I would use it in the real world.
MINDDRIVE changed my perception of education indefinitely. I used algebra to calculate the range of the Ghia at highway and city speeds, physics to predict that the co-efficiency of friction from the original VW transmission would cause a large loss in efficiency, so we took out unnecessary parts such as the gear synchronizers and the clutch plate to accommodate for our electric engine. I used my woodworking skills to build a wooden monocoque tub which sits on top of any VW bug frame, and used Inventor, a CAD program I learned at school, to make a digital model of the tub so we can reproduce it and use it for an Electric Kit Car.
“Everyone was baffled, no one expected any of that from a kid like me. I could’t help but to smirk at their reaction. I continued, “I’m one of the many success stories in MINDDRIVE, kids turn their lives around because they’re apart of something bigger than themselves, we know that with the right help, we can accomplish anything we put our hearts into. Since joining the program, my confidence and motivation took me from shy and doubtful of my future, to eager to do anything possible to better my education and myself. Before, I hated going to school but now, all I want to do is learn more. Because of my boost in motivation and drive to learn more, my grades have skyrocketed. Last summer, my GPA was 2.5, terrible to my standards. This semester, my GPA was a 3.4, a direct effect of my participation in MINDDRIVE.” To my surprise, the crowd of politicians raised and awarded me with a standing ovation, bringing a much-needed-ear-to-ear grin and tear to my eye.
This was the moment in my life that has forever changed me. It took me a while for it all to set in but once it had, I realized how through the radio interviews, newspaper articles, and new reports, I had been advocating what is now the most important piece of my past present and future; Experiential Education.
Electric Phoenix has been working rapidly on the car to get it ready for the upcoming trip to California. Over the past weeks they have taken out the motor, the door panels, all four wheels & tires, all of the seats, and the headlights…in pursuit to replace them all and completely make the car electric.
Electric Phoenix has a plethora of goals for their car but as of today, the goal was to take out the engine, organize the tool box and clean the front of the car to get it prepared for painting.
An Honest Diary Entry From Student’s Perspective
Written by La’Shay White
Day three is finally here and the students of MINDDRIVE are slowly dragging their feet across the carpet of the hotel because they are so tired. I sat there in a daze trying to completely wake up. I could barely hear the voices of the people around me as they tried to start a conversation. I got up to get coffee, as usual, so that I could be attentive for the day. We got our daily assignments and left the hotel.
We drove about an hour to the Carnegie Science Center. When the Science Center opened we explored and learned new things. The submarine was an unforgettable experience! I had the chance to walk through and briefly live the life of the sailor. The view from the water was so beautiful, I began taking picture after picture. I love how the houses are built on the hillside and I loved the bridge that sat directly in the middle of it all.
We departed from the Science Center and made our way to the original hotdog place – famous for Pittsburg. I did not enjoy it, however others said that it was great! Carnegie Mellon University was our next stop. While there, we had the chance to go through their Solar, Zero-Emissions House Project and the Intelligent Work Place Project. It was so unique because it was built by very motivated and intelligent students. The beauty of one small idea becoming something huge touched me in a way.
We left the University and went to a restaurant called The Porch. This was sort of an Italian restaurant and I did not know what I was getting myself into, but I will try anything once. Later we went to the Electric Garage on the Carnegie Mellon campus to present our car to some people that were interested. It was a long day that ended with a bang. A couple of mentors and students stayed behind for about 6 hours to fix our Karmann Ghia, replacing the motor. It was one of the greatest moments of the day, it showed me that teamwork and determination will get all of us a long way in life.
Our First Day on The Social Fuel Tour
Written by La’Shay White
The airplane rides are over, thank goodness. We made it through yesterday and most, if not all of us are anticipating the coming of today. My day started off kind of slow after waking up at 5:30 in the morning. I slowly worked my way down to breakfast with my, oh, so heavy luggage. I could smell the aroma of sweet rolls, coffee, and eggs. I don’t know how I could depict the smell of three items among all of the smells that were lurking in the hotel. As I walked in the eating area, I stopped to look at the smiles and tired facial expressions on each person’s face. I would say by the looks of it that these were not morning people! However, that is beside the point. I decided to disregard the food and go straight for the coffee. As I blankly stood there, I took one deep breath, smiled, and grabbed me a cup and began to make my coffee. I took my seat, slowly sipped the scorching hot coffee, and talked to a couple of my peers.
After 10 minutes I was like an energizer bunny, pumped and ready to go. We all got our assignments and we were on our way. Our first stop was Bridgestone’s Technology Center in Akron, Ohio. The building was so beautiful, with the clean shiny windows and the statue of Harvey Firestone (founder) which was uniquely different, but I liked it. We went on a tour of the Bridgestone facility, ate a snack and watched a video about last year’s trip. We also took the time to thank Bridgestone for everything that they have done. I took a few pictures as we waited for the sheriff to come and escort us out of Akron. One of the MINDDRIVE students, Kristana Madison, drove our electric Karmann Ghia to Youngstown, Ohio with Steve alongside. Once we reached Youngstown we went to a place called “Oh Wow” Science Center. It was a large version of The Kaleidoscope in Kansas City. I felt it was a good experience because it showed us how to have fun again, how to be ourselves. Later, we spoke with students from a local high school and ate delicious sandwiches.
After that, we made our way to Youngstown State University (YSU) to talk about our car to a few intelligent people who were there attending a Sustainability Conference. The people all seemed really interested in what we had to say. I began to smile as I saw the amusing looks on all of their faces. Who knew that a few students and mentors could completely take apart a car and make it totally electric, then drive it across the country?
On our way to our new hotel in Pennsylvania, another one of the MINDDRIVE students, Cornel Foster, drove the Karmann Ghia, as the caravan followed behind. Sadly, we encountered a problem with the car. Yes, we were shocked at what was going on, but everyone knows that the MINDDRIVE team never gives up. Smoke was spewing out of the motor in the back of the Karmann Ghia – OH NO!!
When we have a goal to reach, despite the problems we encounter, we will reach it. We are not only a team, but we are a family, we all stick together in time of need and that’s what I love about MINDDRIVE. We put the car on the trailer and kept on trucking. After the Sonic Drive In stop, (of course), and a long ride we finally made it to our hotel. That was a really long day but I have to say that it was a great.
It Was My First Time Flying, And It Was Awesome!
Written By Sandra Perez
It’s day one and it’s almost time to go on the long journey that’s ahead of us. Getting on the plane for the first time was a great experience, being up so close with the clouds was fascinating. As the plane got ready to take off, I started to get butterflies in my stomach, realizing I was finally going to be on top of the world. As we finally reached the top, I saw how beautiful everything truly was, the fear I had about flying seemed to fade away as we reached the top. The time seemed to fly as I was mesmerized by the beautiful clouds, we finally reached to our destination and it was time to land in Chicago.
We stayed there for about an hour and a half admiring the great city of Chicago from a far in the airport. We learned a lot of things about Chicago in that hour and a half, I learned that “its considered bad manners and harmful to your taste buds to put ketchup on your hot dog within the city limits of Chicago”. That was a fascinating fact about Chicago, and it made me learn a little more about the background of Chicago and the great pride they have for their hot dogs.
After what seemed like a short wait it was time to get back on top of the world and go to Akron, Ohio. We got ready to take off and like the first time I got those butterflies I had in the beginning if our journey. We finally landed in Akron around 1:45 pm, it was a small little town but it was really pretty. There were trees everywhere, something we don’t see much in Kansas City.
We arrived at Sonic, one of our many awesome sponsors, and helped ourselves to the great food of Sonic. Sadly for me, I had already ate before and I didn’t have much chance to try Sonic’s food, but I did get my favorite drink, a strawberry limeade. Around 6:30 a.m we arrived at our hotel, the Holiday Inn. We freshened up and prepared ourselves for a speech by one of our close friends Kristoffer Carter.
He gave a great inspirational speech about going after what we want in life and how we should never compromise on the things we are passionate about. He also told us that we should always expect great things for us, he also gave us a small glimpse into his music career. He sang for us four great inspirational songs, I truly believe everyone from MINDDRIVE received a great message from his speech. Me, personally I learned that you can achieve more than one dream. You don’t have to be stuck to one career; you can do more than one thing because we should never give up on our passions in life.
After KC’s speech we headed to Applebee’s to have a tasty dinner. We had a great time being together eating like the family we are, getting to know each other even more and having one of the greatest night of our lives. It was a wonderful way to end Day One.
Karmann Ghia Goes Green!
This is the first step in creating a completely converted electric car from an old model Karmann Ghia. It’s been completely stripped down, sanded to perfection, painted a subtle “green” color, to fit in with the rest of the MINDDRIVE fleet, and then clear coated to perfection.
This car was finished to a fine degree so that it could be used to strike molds that will be used for the subsequent MINDDRIVE electric Karmann Ghia ultra-efficient prototype vehicle.
The students will then continue on to convert this car to an electric driveline. Their concept is to create a “kit car” that would be primarily an urban use car, traveling relatively low speeds for short distances. The perfect neighborhood car!
Designing From the Inside Out – The Prototype Car
Mentor Catherine Futter and Alta Vista High School student, Huyi Rodriguez are building a model interior of the framework for the Karmann Ghia project. Catherine has been working with a team of students including Daniel Hungerford of Shawnee Mission East, Christiane Parker of University Academy along with Huyi in an exhaustive exercise of measuring, cutting, forming and fitting.
This task is important for the construction of the mold for the newly designed Karmann Ghia. They are using the dimensions, carefully measuring every line, curve and angle of the current “mule” car, creating what would have been the interior of it exactly, so that when the exterior mold is constructed there will still be room for everything needed in the two-passenger car.
Kennedy Finds the ART in Her Photography!
Kennedy Mitchelle took the Canon Rebel into the shop for the first time with the assignment of documenting the process happening on the Karmann Ghia project. There are several Automotive Design Studio students working on various aspects of this project, mostly deconstruction of the car, and some are reconstructing the dimensions of the interior out of foam core and building a shape from which they can design a mold for the bent plywood floor panel.
She found art in the rust, the discarded, ignored car, which will be resurrected, fully altered, fully electric and beautifully designed. So, enjoy the “beauty” in the ugliness of the “BEFORE” photos of the Karmann Ghia Project.
Our Students First Learn Shop Safety Because Power Tools Is All Part of the Participation Level We Require
Corey Boston is working on the Reynard team this week with mentors, Sam Scupham, Andy Ratkewicz, and Buck Buchner. They have a couple of projects within this project, one of which is to drill holes into the aluminum plate which will cover and protect the controller. The other is creating a metal base cage that will hold the batteries.
Corey is all about safety. He’s a freshman at DeLaSalle Charter School and wants to be a lawyer. He commented the other day that most people would think it wouldn’t make much sense for him to work on building electric cars if he wants to be a lawyer. ”But,what MINDDRIVE is about is problem solving and learning to work with others,” says Corey. “It’s not just about cars, it’s about working with people.”
Yep, that part is true. Come on down to MINDDRIVE some Saturday morning (we’re there from 9:00 until 1:00 each week) and you will see at least 4 different teams working on various aspects of the Automotive Design class car projects. And from the Contemporary Communications class and the Business development class, you’ll see teamwork in researching the cars, the target market for the Karmann Ghia project, taking photos, writing stories, etc. We have a great time.
Oh, and Corey is definitely going to be a lawyer. He’s very convincing.
What is A Free Writing Exercise?
Every week, to get our creative juices flowing we start our Contemporary Communications class with about 15 minutes of free writing. This is where you are given a prompt, which can be a word, a phrase, a song, a story, etc. and then you just write about it as you wish; using fiction, reality, poetry or anything else.
This week we are featuring our student, La’Shay White’s poem, entitled Bittersweet, Oh Bittersweet. The prompt this week was a story about the Innocence Project, a non-profit organization of lawyers committing their time and effort to free those wrongly convicted of crimes, who have served sentences long and difficult, and the story of a man who was released after 30 years in prison. He described the day of his release as “Bittersweet”.
Written by La’Shay White
The Karmann Ghia Body Is Removed
It was an exciting day when the Karmann Ghia “mule” was taken apart. The plan is to use this frame,redesigned with aerodynamic qualities and restyled with beautiful attributes, as a mold that can be replicated. The newly designed body will consist in part of formed, bent plywood and part fiberglass or carbon fiber. Both offer lightweight and sustainable materials and give us a great start at creating a lightweight, efficient vehicle.
The students and mentors worked together to disassemble the body from the frame and this photo illustrates how at MINDDRIVE, everyone has to pull their own weight! lol. Seriously though, our model is to team mentors from various professional fields with students, one-on-one whenever possible. Teamwork is important as there are often several projects happening simultaneously during the course of our 4 hours together, every Saturday from 9:00 to 1:00.
MINDDRIVE went through a total re-model over the summer months, including adding an AutoCAD classroom, with 6 SolidWorks Stations so that our returning students can take it up a notch and learn how to draw 2D and 3D renderings, which will be used to fabricate parts for the Automotive Design Studio.
The Automotive Design Studio got moved to the back shop area to accommodate the expansion of our number of students and mentors. This will allow everyone to be together for the classroom time, and then the teams will be split up as to which car project they will focus on each week. Mentors lead projects with approx. 4 students on each project.
We’ve also added a Business Strategy component to the Automotive Design Studio. They will be researching the costs associated with converting an old Karmann Ghia into a modern electric vehicle, designed for urban use. Their study will include feasibility, defining the market, competitive pricing, parts research and much more!
Here is a great shot of our “Wall of Safety” which features (continues to grow) our students, our mentors, and our esteemed frequent guests! Come on down, we’ve got a pair of safety goggles for you and you can join in the fun!
Contemporary Communications Class has also been updated! We’ve taken over what was the Automotive Design Studio last year and have grown to 10 students. Each student will be assigned their own computer for the year, create their own blog, learn to write well, photograph and document projects through the use of video production, as well as utilizing social media for reporting on MINDDRIVE activities.
Saturday was an amazing day at MINDDRIVE. We started off by meeting all of our new students and their parents for an orientation down at the shop. We have 12 returning students and 18 new students coming from 5 schools across the Kansas City metropolitan area. The students range in age from 15 to 18 years old and come from Alta Vista Charter High School, DeLaSalle Charter High School, University Academy Charter High School, Center High School, and Shawnee Mission East High School.
First thing out of the shoot, we gave them our Pre-Test. Yep! That’s right, a test – first day! This is an important aspect to our success as we measure the impact that experiential learning has with this group of high school students. Which of these students “learns by doing”? Who ends up with an expanded vision for their future? Are we inspiring them to learn back in their core subjects at school as a result of the options that we present to them? These are all compelling questions that we are frankly excited to discover over the course of the next 32 weeks with these young adults. How much impact can we have in one year? We are aiming high! And, when our EXPECTATIONS are set high, they can accomplish GREAT things!
The highlight came at the end of our session, when we all piled into cars and headed out to a picnic lunch with the Mayor. Kansas City’s Mayor, Sly James @MayorSlyJames spoke to the students about triumph over obstacles. He challenged them to always do their best, and promised that if they did, opportunities will come. He candidly shared his own personal story and stories about his family that included both success and failure. We shared a lovely meal, organized by Genaro Ruiz (a big shout out – THANK YOU!) and were able to ask him any question we wanted. Students sought his advice on topics, shared their own stories of success and struggles. In the end, we took this photo together, a symbol of unity and support.
What a wonderful start to the @MINDDRIVEorg 2012-13 program. Thank you, Mayor!