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  • Da Capo Press

Electric Dreams

Caroline Kettlewell

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Prose: non-fiction, Education

Stand and Deliver meets Rocky in this richly inspiring story about an impoverished school district, a dedicated teacher and his students, and one of the biggest technology stories of our time: the long-awaited arrival of the electric car.

When Eric Ryan is sent by Teach for America to a hard scrabble high school in the heart of North Carolina's NASCAR country, one of the many things he didn't count on was Harold Miller sticking his head into his class one morning and announcing, "Hey Mr. Ryan, we're gonna build an electric car." Two regional utilities had challenged a group of elite schools throughout the South to design and build battery-powered electric vehicles. Although Ryan's underprivileged high school had not even been on the list, somehow Miller had managed to squeak them in and onto an adventure which not only began to take over the lives of Ryan, Miller, and a local engineer named George Hawkins, but an unexpected group of kids with no visible resources, know-how, or expectations. With an ancient Ford Escort rescued from the compacter, a few hundred pounds of scavenged golf cart batteries, a local minor league NASCAR driver as coach, and the local constabulary looking the other way as the reborn "Shocker" began careening over back roads on test runs, the kids (barely) get their pasted together dark horse to the big contest in Richmond, and then, naturally, win the whole thing.

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