Staten Island Soap Box Derby 2017
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DOE's first Staten Island Student Soap Box Derby set for Sunday
By Diane C. Lore
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- You will not hear "start your engines" at the Petrides School campus Sunday, but you can be assured there will be a race going on, as students get ready to compete in the inaugural Staten Island Student Soap Box Derby Sunday.
The Department of Education will sponsor the race in partnership with the Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation (SASF) on June 18, 2017, during Father's Day weekend.
The race will bring out the borough's best and brightest students, ranging from ages 7 to 14, for a chance to compete with each other using self-built cars.
Derby races will run from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Michael J. Petrides Educational Complex at 715 Ocean Terrace in Sunnyside.
Winners of the race will have a chance to advance to the national competition and represent the city at the 80th First Energy All-American Soap Box Derby on Saturday, July 22, at Derby Downs in Akron Ohio, home of the original Soap Box Derby.
The genesis of the Staten Island Student Soap Box Derby came from the DOE initiative to institute STEM- based education programs in local schools.
The Soap Box Derby movement began three years ago in teacher Patricia Lockhart's third grade science class at PS 57, Clifton.
Schools competing in Sunday's derby spent weeks using special kits to build the cars in the classroom. A step-by-step layout was provided as a guide for students to construct the basic lean forward style car.
The modern gravity-powered racers will start on a ramp on top of Campus Road attaining exhilarating speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.
"Having students roll up their sleeves to build the cars together was a rewarding experience," said Kevin Moran, executive director of the DOE's Staten Island Field Support Center.
"Not only did they get to learn basic engineering concepts through STEM, but it was a great exercise in team work and collaboration. We're looking forward to working with the community for a great turnout," he said.
The citywide race includes schools from Staten Island and Brooklyn along with cars from the New York City Parks Department. Lockhart, who is derby director, worked with Mark Scuderi, regional Soap Box Derby director from Rochester, to collaborate on the event for New York City.
The citywide race will occur immediately following the Staten Island race (1:00pm-5:00pm). There will also be a "Super Kids" race for students with special needs.
For more information about the Staten Island Soap Box Derby and general resources for schools and parents, visit the website at soapboxsi.wixsite.com/soapbox, and check out the Staten Island Field Support Center's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.