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Home>News and Media>Connect with VTA>Atlas Academy Takes “V Double T Bus” to MTI’s Garrett Morgan Competition

Atlas Academy Takes “V Double T Bus” to MTI’s Garrett Morgan Competition


The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) is approaching its 23rd Annual Awards Banquet and Convocation Ceremony this Saturday, June 27 at San Jose State University.

Each year, a new group of graduates proudly accepts their diplomas and shake the hands of esteemed transportation industry leaders. There’s also something in it for younger students who came out champions in MTI’s Garrett Morgan Sustainable Transportation Competition.

The program has been going strong for 15 years as a way to get middle-school students interested in transportation careers. This year, VTA was a first-time sponsor and “adopted” Atlas Academy from Sheppard Middle School.

Mr. Michael Kretsch, the Academy’s science teacher, delivered the curriculum developed by MTI and then the students, as part of the competition, created a sustainable transportation project based on what they learned.

VTA employees served as mentors to the students in the areas of engineering, public speaking and sustainability.

With the help of the mentors, four female and one male student worked through their lunch and stayed after school for over four weeks, ultimately creating their project: The Valley Transportation Trash-Renewing Exhaust-Filtering Hybrid Bus – “we use what the world wastes”.

They proposed to manufacture a bus that runs on ethanol made from waste while also removing and recycling harmful emissions from the exhaust, effectively helping to reduce waste in landfills and improve the air we breathe.

On May 11, the students participated in a live video-conference in which they presented their project and competed to win cash prizes for their classroom. They had the opportunity to hear from US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Former Secretary Norm Y. Mineta, and meet Rod Diridon Sr. in person.

The students were judged not only on their projects, but also on their teamwork, presentation skills, and ability to ask and answer questions about the projects. Three cash prizes are awarded -- $1000, $300, and $200. Their hard work almost paid off, taking fourth place out of nine teams in the competition.

Among others sponsors this year were Caltrans, the American Public Transportation Association, and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

The students who participated are (also in order of the photo): Daniella Acosta, Nevaeha Avila, (pictured with Rod Diridon, Sr.), Jillian Alberca, Angeline Joy “AJ” Laxa, (pictured with Mr. Michael Kretsch) and Herman Kaloty (not pictured).

Congratulations to this year’s winners and our great Atlas Academy team who came in so close!

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