By Dominic Garcia

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – A group of students from Wheat Ridge High School just made waves in an international competition in California.

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(credit: Wheat Ridge High School STEM)

They’re part of the STEM program, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, at the school and raced hydrogen powered cars which they built at the Shell Eco Marathon in Sonoma, California.

They competed against schools from North and South America, even colleges like Duke. The team placed third in the prototype category.

(credit: Wheat Ridge High School STEM)

“We worked really hard on it. We designed for months and we finally manufactured it,” said Gabriella Cordova, a senior at Wheat Ridge.

The competition is based around which team can create the most efficient car that runs on hydrogen. The design and building process took months and months and wasn’t always easy.

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(credit: Wheat Ridge High School STEM)

“There was a lot of sacrifice. We were here until like 1 a.m. one night finishing the cars,” sophomore Connor Denney told CBS4’s Dominic Garcia.

The goal of the school’s STEM program is to teach students the tools and techniques of the engineering world from a collection of experts as they work on individual projects along with competing in a variety of competitions throughout the year.

Leaders say it is an opportunity for students – freshman through seniors – to work on real world engineering projects in a group setting. The students come from all backgrounds, but say in the classroom and on the track they became one team.

Gabriella Cordova and Conner Denney (credit: CBS)

“There’s nothing better than working hard on something and really seeing it run, there’s nothing like that. And building new friendships is amazing. Going into this program with open arms and you come out successful and it feels good to do it with people who are on your team,” said Cordova.

LINK: Wheat Ridge High School STEM 

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Dominic Garcia anchors CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and reports for CBS4 News at 10 p.m. Connect with the Denver native on Twitter @cbs4dom & on Facebook.