Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960


By Pam Stevens
Managing Editor 

GFHS Eco Team in the running for another $5,000 grant


January 30, 2012

Ten times a year Brotherton Cadillac grants a $5,000 scholarship to someone who is making a difference in their community as part of their Community Champions award.

The Brotherton Award is a way to highlight the good that's happening in our communities. Brad Brotherton of Brotherton Cadillac of Bellevue got tired of all the doom and gloom stories on television, so he paired with and the Seattle Film Festival and created a way to share the good news of people volunteering,” parent volunteer Kari Hanson said. “I was voted, along with seven other community champions in 2011. The award includes: creating a radio commercial and a documentary about the Eco Car Teams. The radio commercial is airing now on FM 97.7 KOMONews Radio, and AM 570 KVI. The documentary will be filmed the beginning of April. It will be on”

In January Hanson helped secure the winning purse for the teams of Granite Falls High School students who have been winning competitions for the past two years in the Shell Eco-Marathon Americas Event.

“The reason I volunteer with the GFHS Eco Car Teams is because it is so cool to be part of an innovative program being developed from the ground up,” Hanson said. “The students join the teams for different reasons. I became involved because my daughter was on the charter team and Mr. Werner needed parent volunteers to help with marketing and transportation. She since has graduated and wrote her college and scholarship applications about her experience.”

The goal for teams participating in the Shell Eco-Marathon is to see which car can go the furthest on the least amount of fuel.

There are two different car categories - “prototype” and “urban concept”. Both Granite Falls teams, “The ShopGirls” and “UrbanAutos” participated in the urban concept portion of the competition by building their own cars, from scratch, and then testing them on the open road at the Shell competition. Both teams have participated for the last two years.

In 2010, “The ShopGirls took first place in the diesel prototype category with 470 mpg. In 2011, the girls earned the overall first Place Safety award and got the honor of driving the CEO of Shell Oil in their car during the opening lap.

Also in 2011 The UrbanAutos took 1st Place and set a new America’s record in their diesel urban concept category of 186 mpg beating out Penn State.

If you want to help the team get ready to vote.

“We will then have three weeks to get as many on-line votes as possible to get our documentary chosen for the final three,” Hanson explained. “The final three will be shown at the Seattle Film Festival starting May 17. The whole community is invited to a free showing. At that point, a panel will choose which organization to award $5,000.

Our goal is 60,000 on-line votes in the month of April to assure our chance at the $5000. We will be counting on everyone to vote at least once a day for three weeks straight and to forward it to everyone they know. It's all about getting the on-line votes.”

This is not just fun and games for these kids, they are learning skills that will help them succeed throughout their life including learning to work as a team, critical thinking, engineering, problem solving, responsibility and much more.

“I learned that given a chunk of metal, the tools and the time, I can create an accurately and beautifully made car with rounded edges, holes in specific places and specific sizes…and the result was a complete and running car, which turned out well (470 mpg,” Shante, a junior at GFHS said.

“I’ve certainly proved that I can work for 12 hours straight to meet a deadline and it makes me proud to know that I was able to labor away that long without getting upset or losing momentum,” GFHS senior Sarah said.

The kids were also invited to the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2011 where the UrbanAuto team holds the record as the first car to run G-Diesel fuel on the Salt Flats during the World of Speed.

Three of the ShopGirls also got to take a tour of the KOMO4 studios and got to meet Brad Brotherton.

For more information about the teams, you can visit their website at

Hanson is one of several parent volunteers who helps the team throughout the year as they prepare for competition.


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