SAN DIEGO - Some local students may not be able to drive but they are learning to design the cars of the future.
The students are starting with mini handheld solar-powered cars. They raced them at Lincoln High School on Friday.
"It uses the sun," said 3rd grader DeLawrence Wells. "It uses the sun as its energy source."
The cars were designed and engineered by 3rd graders from around San Diego.
"When the sun hits the solar panel, the solar panel absorbs the sunlight and then converts it or transmits it into energy and powers it into the motor," said Wells.
The kids are at a three-week summer camp at Lincoln High School and San Diego State University called SEEK, which stands for Summer Engineering Experience for Kids.
"The sun is renewal and instead of using fossil fuels that burn and pollute all the air, it's going to be better because you won't have to waste any energy," said 3rd grader Juan Pablo Zendeajas.
The camp is free to San Diego kids from the 3rd to 8th grades. It is paid for in part by San Diego Gas & Electric.
Educational leaders say children are born with an innate sense of curiosity.
"So if we can tap into it early before they get discouraged or lose it, we stand a greater chance of creating the next generation of professionals who will sustain and support our country in the global world," said Lincoln High School Lead Principal Dr. Esther Omogbehin.
This is the third year the SEEK program has been in San Diego and each year the diverse group continues to grow.
"We reach out to the Latino community, the women engineering community to ask them to join us and be mentors for Camp SEEK so our kids can absolutely see someone that looks like them," said Society of Black Engineers member Grady Gordon."This program was designed to show kids that there are people who look like them, who've lived the life that they live, coming from the underserved communities that are in engineering, science and technology."
The event has grown from 150 students the first year to more than 700 this year.
"I think I'll be an engineer for the Marines," said Wells.
Zendeajas added, "I want to be like a computer engineer."