Race Day 4: From Chaperone Deborah Sigler’s Perspective


Featured, General, Solar, Structures, Texas / Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

This is a blog segment written by chaperones and their perspective on the race! Deborah Sigler is a parent of team member Maya Peña [11], who played an incredibly influential role in making sure the team was in the right place at the right time, feeding us three times a day, and managing the team off the track.


“For me, the day started like every other day; up at 5:00 AM to prepare grab ‘n go breakfast sandwiches for the team. However,as the students began to trickle downstairs at 5:30 it was clear the energy in the house was eerily calm given that it was the last day of racing.

As the students prepared to leave the team house for the track they seemed intensely focused on their job for the day – catching Iron Lions and defending their championship title. 

In addition to being, quiet and focused there seemed to be a bit of trepidation within the group. I chalked it up to anticipation around the judges’ impending decision about whether the team would win their challenge to a 5 lap penalty they sustained at the end of day 3. The decision would likely cement their chances of winning or losing the race. Their ability to make up 9 laps – 5 penalty laps sustained on day 3 and 4 laps that accrued over the first 2 days – was logistically impossible unless Iron Lions had mechanical troubles and RAHS had a perfect day. No one could have predicted what was to happen when we arrived at the garage. 

News from the Solar Car Challenge Director, Dr. Marks, that the team had defended their position factually, succinctly and persuasively lifted our spirits and hopes. Those were dashed in 2 words, “Standing remains.” A silent but deafening andcollective, “What?!! Are you #*@$%*! serious???!!!” could be felt. Crushed. As I stood there in shock and disbelief, I looked around at the faces of team members to check their physical reactions. In true RAHS fashion everyone stood respectfully without uttering a disparaging word. And then Dr. Marks dropped the bombshell . . . . . . news that Iron Lions would NOT be competing on Day 4. Again, the team responded respectfully with celebratory silence – or maybe it was pure shock! It definitely took a few minutes for everything to sink in. Cool, calm and collectively, the team resumed their disciplined preparation for a final day of racing. 8 hours later they crossed the finish line victorious!

As a parent I want my child to be successful – whatever that means. Winning is always fun but is not guaranteed. Mostly I want my child to have a life of experiences that challenge her in ways that build empathy, teamwork, compassion, resiliency and a strong work ethic while having fun. Participating with her GET RAHS teammates at the 2021 National Solar Car Challenge provided all of that and then some.”

Deborah Sigler [Chaperone] brings Costco pizza to the track for dinner at the track as the team works until 9:00 PM preparing for the race day to follow

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