Students race toward a cleaner environment

Students race in a soapbox derby.
  • Soapbox derby winners:

  • West High School

    Patti Welder Middle School

    O'Connor Elementary School

    Shields Elementary School

    Cade Middle School

    West High School

    Bleacher Creature

    Dudley Elementary

Propelled only by weight - and a shove from a teammate - racers from 11 schools competed in the Blue Sky Initiative soapbox derby.

The driver of the winning high school vehicle, 18-year-old Jeremiah Burks, said he had a fun time in the 400-foot race.

"I went farther than everyone else," Jeremiah said. "Even though I started using the brakes right at the finish line, I still ended up almost hitting the hay bales set up at the end."

The soapbox derby - promoting eco-friendly vehicles - put school-aged children behind the wheel of their own environmentally-friendly vehicles, said Kate Garcia, an employee of environmental services for Victoria.

Participating schools were given kits to construct and decorate engine-free vehicles for the competition.

"We had seven elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools participate," Garcia said. "We mostly had VISD schools, but a few home school teams participated as well."

The first year was a success, said Danielle Williams, a Parks and Recreation employee for the City of Victoria.

"We had a vehicle show with eco-friendly and fuel efficient vehicles," Williams said. "A little more than 150 people turned out, which was about what we expected."

The adult derby scheduled for the afternoon was postponed indefinitely.

Garcia has begun anticipating improvements for next year's derby, such as taking into account the size of the younger students and adjusting the length of the race for them.

"We got a lot of buzz this year, so we're hoping to have an even better turnout in the future," Garcia said. "Each of the winning schools were given a perpetual trophy, which will be passed on to the winner of next year's derby."