Saint Thomas Academy Celebrates 20 Years of the Experimental Vehicle Team with Grand Opening of State-of-the-Art Innovation Center

News Date : 11/01/2017


Alumni representing 20 years of the Saint Thomas Academy Experimental Vehicle Team will celebrate the team’s 20 years of engineering exploration and creation with a special VIP reception and ribbon-cutting at the Academy’s new 6,000-square-foot Innovation Center. Throughout the years, the team originally known as the Supermileage Team has beat out many college teams on the way to winning 14 national championships and 1 international championship – the 2017 Shell Drivers’ World Championship – and setting numerous national records. Bodies from past EVT vehicles will be on display at the event.

The EVT has successfully sparked many students’ engineering careers in its history as a co-curricular program teaching real-life problem-solving skills. Past Experimental Vehicle Teams have built a safer electric motorcycle for urban commuting, multiple solar vehicles, a one-person car that got more than 1,300 mpg and an electric car that traveled 50 miles on two car batteries. They have raced on the track at Texas Motor Speedway, closed courses on the streets of Detroit, and the open road from Texas to California.

The Supermileage Team/EVT was founded by Mark Westlake, who continues to co-moderate the team today and now serves as the director of the Innovation Center.

WHEN:  Saturday, Oct. 28 4-7 p.m. – Ribbon-cutting and grand opening of the Innovation Center; open house

WHO:  EVT alumni from 20 years, Mark Westlake, founder and co-moderator of the EVT, director of the Innovation Center, Caroline Little, co-moderator of the EVT, Today’s EVT team members, Headmaster Matthew Mohs ’90, Donors, EVT sponsors, family and friends

WHERE:   Saint Thomas Academy, Innovation Center

About the Innovation Center
The Academy’s Innovation Center has the latest technologies to provide students the chance to ideate, evaluate and fabricate working prototypes to address multi-faceted problems in capstone-type projects. The Academy’s science, math and art classes have already begun integrating the Innovation Center into their curricula. As students become proficient with the Innovation Center technology, they are challenged with invention-themed contests that encourage them to develop solutions to third-world issues, improve household items, help increase energy efficiency, or create new children’s toys. One such project is four students’ involvement in the NASA Student Opportunities in Airborne Research (SOAR), a pilot program in which only Saint Thomas Academy, Columbia University and the University of Texas were invited to participate. Students will travel to Johnson Space Center in November to test and research an environmental data recorder they designed and built. 

The 6,000-square-foot space includes:

  • 3D Printers
  • Vinyl Cutters
  • Small CNC three-axis mill
  • Medium CNC table mill
  • Hand Tools
  • Drill Press
  • Scroll Saw/Band Saw
  • 3D Scanner/Measuring Equipment
  • Laser Cutter/Engraver
  • Computers with Computer Aided Design (CAD) Software such as the Auto-Desk Design Suite

The Innovation Center build-out and equipment were funded through a special fundraising initiative that raised approximately $360,000.

About Saint Thomas Academy
Founded in 1885, Saint Thomas Academy is an all-male, college preparatory, Catholic, military/leadership school committed to preparing young men to succeed in college and in life. The Academy challenges its students in grades 6-12 to excel academically, spiritually, morally and physically in and out of the classroom. It is fully accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS); a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Minnesota Association of Independent Schools (MAIS), and the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States (AMCSUS). For more information, please visit

Media Contact: Amy Nugent, 651.450.9222,

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