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Two Teenagers Will Receive Soap Box Derby's President's Youth Volunteer Service Award

Laura HubbellLaura Hubbell
Veronica HarrisVeronica Harris

Two teenage volunteers of the Soap Box Derby program have been chosen as recipients of the President’s Youth Volunteer Service Award, which recognizes volunteers under the age of 21 who have made a positive impact on the Soap Box Derby through their leadership on the local or national level.

The 2016 award recipients are Veronica Harris of Campbell, Calif., and Laura Hubbell of Johnstown, Ohio.

“These young people chosen for this prestigious award have demonstrated a tremendous commitment to the Soap Box Derby in their home communities,” said Joe Mazur, president and CEO of the Soap Box Derby. “They both are seasoned racers who work to increase awareness in our program and mentor other youth so they get the maximum positive experience from their participation.”

Harris, 19, raced in the local Silicon Valley Soap Box Derby and rally competition in Stock, Super Stock and Masters divisions over a seven-year period beginning in 2007. She has represented her area in the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby in Akron five times. As a volunteer, she serves her local and statewide California Derby programs as a mentor to younger racers by teaching them driving skills; motivates participants to persevere in difficult times; visits area schools and community events to promote awareness of Derby racing, and has taught a class of middle school students how to build, prepare and race Derby cars as part of a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education program. She also is a driver for the SuperKids race for children special needs children and coordinates the run-out area at her local races.

Hubbell, 18, is a volunteer in the Columbus (Ohio) Soap Box Derby and also competes in rallies. She won all three division titles in Columbus and continues to race in Masters division rallies. She has raced in the world championship finals in Akron four times, including in the 2013 Ultimate Speed competition. In Columbus, Hubbell is a member of the junior board of the Derby organization; promotes involvement in Derby racing through events at schools, 4-H activities and booths at the Ohio State Fair; recruits and trains participants in SuperKids racing; has developed a “how to” manual to assist organizations in staging Soap Box Derby events, and mentored other racers on racing procedures. 

Nominations for the youth award come from local, regional and national Soap Box Derby officials.

The awards will be presented as part of the 79th  FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby race day awards program at E.J. Thomas Hall on Saturday, July 16, at 7 p.m.