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DHA S.T.A.R. Students - Madison Ave. Soapbox Derby

DHA S.T.A.R. After School Program Goes to the Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby

On August 30th, DHA applied for a grant through the Decatur Education Foundation in hopes to receive funds for participation in the Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby. In the meantime, DHA consulted with Decatur Makers to determine which soapbox car we should purchase based on the expertise of the DHA staff. During that time, we also showed the S.T.A.R. students' videos of the Madison Soapbox Derby videos from previous years. The students asked, "This happens here in Decatur?" The students also noticed that the kids in the video did not look like them. They began to doubt if they could do what they saw in the Madison's Derby videos. More uncertainty sunk in after the students found out about the price. One student said, "my mama is not going to pay that much for me to participate." We explained to them that we have an organization (Decatur Education Foundation) that believed in them enough to cover all expenses. We also explained that this is an opportunity to show a different representation of the kids in the City of Decatur. On September 24th, DHA was notified that their grant proposal was approved! By this time, the S.T.A.R students were excited to get started.

Time to make our dream a reality...

Our Soapbox arrived on September 29th, leaving the DHA S.T.A.R. students only 2 weeks to put together their Soapbox car! You might ask how do over 30 students work on one car? The answer is easy. DHA Resident Services separated the students into three groups, the Design Team, the Engineering/Mechanic team, and the event and promotion team. The design team worked on drawing the designs that would be on the soapbox car. The Engineering/Mechanic team built the soapbox car, and our final group, the event, and the promotion team made the team's derby t-shirts. They also put together the Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby Reveal Event, which was held two days before race day. At the soapbox reveal we had the mayor, commissioners, superintendent, CSD teachers, Decatur PD, Decatur Active Living, Decatur Rec. Cheer Squad, Decatur Education Foundation, Decatur Makers, the Madison Ave., Derby Officials, and a few of the DHA residents to wish us well on the event day. The support was unbelievable!

Soapbox Derby race

Now off to the DERBY...

On October 16th, we had five S.T.A.R students prepared to race in hopes of bringing home a prize. We brought over seven adult volunteers to help with running alongside each driver and to pull our car back up the hill after each race. Everyone was impressed with our car and how we all worked together on race day and as a result, we won the best prize ever. The TEAM SPIRIT trophy!

Team Spirit Award Trophy

The team spirit trophy was given to the team that celebrated extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit. Team spirit was apparent in all we did during derby day, and the days leading up to the day of the race. Our communication with the judges and other racers demonstrated made our presence known. The students were so excited they shared their journey with everyone that day!

The S.T.A.R students said next year they are looking forward to winning the Team Spirit Award again. The students also want to add a creativity trophy to their trophy lineup. This opportunity provided hands-on experiences around S.T.E.A.M, but most importantly the project provided an outlet where students can appreciate the talents of others and the true meaning of teamwork!

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