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Students race toward a cleaner environment

By ErinPradia
May 12, 2012 at 12:12 a.m.
Updated May 13, 2012 at 12:13 a.m.

Students representing 11 schools across the Victoria Independent School District competed in a soapbox derby Saturday at Riverside Park. The derby promoted eco-friendly vehicles and air quality.

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."

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