2007Six years ago I was in year 7. It was a summer lunch time, and instead of running around in the yard with my classmates, and me and my good friend were hanging out in the teachers office, messing around and joking with the year 12s. An unusual situation you may think. But how did it come about? Because of the RACV Energy Breakthrough’s Human Powered Vehicle program.

Initially, my old maths teacher, Mr Matto, got us involved. Lured by the promise of a couple days off school, we joined the team and learnt about the sport. Teams of 8 students, design and construct (with the help of teachers) a recumbent tricycle to race around a circuit for 24 consecutive hours. What seemed like a mammoth challenge at first, became a passion of mine to compete to the best of our abilities. We made lasting friendships and were instantly part of the all-inclusive school community that was the HPV team. We never looked back.

Just last year, I found myself in a similar position. Except this time I was the year 12. My year 7 teammates were just as eager to help out for the team as I was. They asked to learn from my past experiences. And I was still nervously excited for the weekend in November where all our hard work in the year would come to fruition. I still maintain that my school’s HPV team was greater than any other club or pastoral care system. It brought together all year levels, being part of a team, working towards a mutual goal. It encompassed all types of learning, and actively encouraged participation, in a friendly environment.

2012We learnt the importance of health and diet in our training schedule. For those who love hands on work, safety and construction was paramount in our team’s success.  Team management, sponsorship and fundraising created another avenue to get involved. Of course, all whilst we were creating awareness of the importance of our natural environment, and the growing need for alternative materials, transport and technologies. And I didn’t even mention how fun it all was.
When the Maryborough event comes along, the small town transforms into a ‘carnival-like’ atmosphere, with opportunities to become involved in Innovations in Technology, Pushcarts, HPV’s, Try-athlons and Energy Efficient Vehicles. The atmosphere is lifting, and I still remember the great sense of relief and pride of being part of a successful team at the end of the 24 hours. It is what keeps me involved in this activity to this day.

So as entries for the 2013 RACV Energy Breakthrough open on March 6, I urge you, the students, the teachers, the parents, to nominate to be part of the program in 2013. And be a part of the event that makes giving up your lunchtimes worthwhile.


Jake ‘Cobba’ Stevens.