The pandemic has changed the landscape in education and has changed Solar Cup as well. The Solar Cup program has moved away from a program traditionally focused on gaining STEM knowledge to race a boat. In 2021, the program will be broader in scope, to give students a wider variety of activities, building a larger set of skills to add to their high school resumes as they begin to look to higher education and choose their career paths.
Solar Cup 2021 will be an online STEAM-focused program where high school students will learn skills by working as a team and selecting from a menu of activities that cover a wide range of STEAM fields including robotics, solar power vehicles, utilizing CAD software, building online gaming, social media messaging, visual arts and dream job skills. At the end of the Solar Cup 2021 program, there will be a competition although the decision about what kind of competition and whether it is a live or virtual format will be made closer to the event based on current public health conditions.
West Valley High School (WVHS), located within the Hemet Unified School District, has taken on the challenge of participating in the 2021 Virtual Solar Cup Challenge. Sean Mathews, an Engineering and AP Physics teacher at WVHS, will be leading his students in the various challenges presented by Metropolitan Water District.
Metropolitan Water District has a total of 21 Solar Cup Teams participating this year from nine of their twenty-six member agencies.