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Teachers Build Solar Suitcases for Teachers in Need

California, Los Angeles, CA

Teachers Build Solar Suitcases for Teachers in Need

For the first time in six years at Let’s Build ItSM, teachers collaborated on a hands-on project to physically build something! The idea came from 2021 prizewinner Brian Copes, whose students have been building solar suitcases at his campus in Chickasaw, AL, and donating them to teachers in need.

After touring Da Vinci Schools in El Segundo, CA, the teachers were put in small groups to build the solar suitcases—ready to face a challenge head-on! They jumped in using their individual trades skills, ingenuity and collaboration, as teachers needed to rely on their colleagues’ expertise.

Teachers hard at work soldering wire elements of the solar suitcases

“It was inspiring to see the problem-solving skills of this collaborative team of prize-winning educators,” said Bob Kilmer, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Education Advisor. “When challenged by time constraints and limited information, this group of skilled trades professionals rolled up their sleeves and demonstrated why they are some of the best in our country, not only by what they can do, but also by who they are! We all got “just a little bit better” because of the experience.”

Matthew Barbercheck, 2018 prizewinner, and Kristie Jones, 2022 prizewinner, finishing up their team’s solar suitcase