Derry girls enjoy their own Formula 1 experience!

GIRL RACERS!. . . .St. Cecilia's students Karen Breslind, Laura McFadden, Betty Healy, Donna Brennan, Lauren Edgar and Beth Haughey, pictured with teachers, Connie Taylor, Conor McClafferty and Gareth Haughey. DER2115MC080
GIRL RACERS!. . . .St. Cecilia's students Karen Breslind, Laura McFadden, Betty Healy, Donna Brennan, Lauren Edgar and Beth Haughey, pictured with teachers, Connie Taylor, Conor McClafferty and Gareth Haughey. DER2115MC080
  • Year ten students build car from scratch
  • Vehicle can reach speeds of up to 40mph
  • School seeks local tech and engineering sponsors
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There aren’t many Formula One drivers who can say they’ve built the car they raced around the track on.

Mind you, there aren’t many fourteen year old girls who can say they’ve built a racing car from scratch and raced against university students at Nutt’s Corner.

But for one group of year ten students at St Cecilia’s College, they can now add that to their list of achievements.

The six technology students, under the supervision of the school’s Head of Technology Gareth Haughey, worked for months on their very own vehicle and raced the motor sports car last weekend at Nutt’s Corner in County Antrim.

The car, which was able to reach speeds of 40 miles per hour, is now proudly displayed in the school’s Technology and Design department, but teacher Gareth Haughey believes that with sponsorship from local engineering and technology firms his students are capable of travelling to the U.S to take part in major racing events.

For the students involved, the Nutt’s Corner experience has left them wanting more and determined to pursue STEM subjects with the hope of becoming engineers and designers in the future.

Betty Healy was one of the drivers of the car at last weekend’s event.

“It was really exciting,” she told the Journal.

“It felt so real to us all, it felt like we were at an actual Formula 1 race. I have an interest in cars anyway and I loved being able to take part in helping to make our car as well. I love the fact that the STEM subjects allow us to do things like this.”

For student Laura McFadden, the entire experience was enriching and rewarding.

“It was a really good thing to do. It was challenging, but that’s what made it great. We enjoyed making the car in school but when we got to Nutt’s Corner and the other teams were competing it was an amazing feeling. I was one of the drivers of our car and we took it up to a speed of about 20 miles per hour.”

For Karen Breslin, it was being part of the team which helped produce the car that she’ll remember most about the experience.

“I don’t have a major interest in cars but it was taking part with everyone else that I really enjoyed and I would like to get the chance to do something like this again,” Karen told the Journal.

Student Donna Brennan now has a love of engineering and never thought she’d be able to tell people she’d been involved in something so significant.

“I think after designing a car I would definitely like to see myself doing an engineering job,” she said.

Student Lauren Edgar also has her eyes set on a very definite career path thanks to her experiences in the Technology and Design Department.

“I think I’d like to be an aerospace engineer after doing this,” she said.

“It’s been a great thing to work on as part of a team and I’ve really enjoyed it. We’re delighted with how well it all turned out.”

Student Beth Haughey added: “I really liked the fact that we got to use computer aided design to do this.

“We were using digital technology and that was amazing. I think it would be great to do the chance to do something like this again.”

Teacher Gareth Haughey said staff at the school were immensely proud of the students.

“The excitement right across the school on this has been amazing,” he said.

“A lot of the younger students are now looking at these girls and wanting to do something similar which is fantastic. For us the aim is to encourage it as much as we can and I think the girls have shown great ability in being able to take the project from the very beginning, build the actual car and then race it.

“We’d love to hear from local engineering and technology companies who might be able to provide sponsorship to allow this to become even bigger and help our students to possibly participate in the biggest events in the world because we know that they can do it.”

Contact Gareth at St Cecilia’s for further information on 71 281800 or visit the school’s Twitter accounts at

@stceciliastech or

@StCeciliasDerry