NewsSoap Box Derby Champions to be Recognized at the Statehouse05.24.2022Representing more than 70 communities throughout Ohio, 136 Soap Box Derby Champions will be recognized for their accomplishments during the 11th annual Statehouse Recognition Day held in their honor in Columbus, Ohio on Wednesday, May 25. Honorees include Ohio Local and Rally champions who competed in the 83rd FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby World Championship and Gravity Racing Challenge STEM Team Champions from Preston Elementary School (Cuyahoga Falls), Coventry High School, Louisville High School, Barberton High School, and Austintown Middle School in 2021. During this event, the champions will receive Commendations from their State Legislators, Governor Michael DeWine, and Secretary of State Frank LaRose and will be recognized for their accomplishments during the House and Senate Sessions. Representative Tavia Galonski says, “It is a pleasure to be back at the Statehouse to honor our champions in person this year. The All-American Soap Box Derby is such an important part of Akron’s vibrant history and provides youth throughout the state with opportunities to explore STEM topics outside of the classroom in an engaging and enjoyable manner. I extend my sincere congratulations to all this year’s champions.” According to Soap Box Derby champion, Sarah Kolesar of Uniontown, OH, “I am honored to be invited to participate in this event. It's great that our state legislatures and officials recognize Soap Box Derby racers for their accomplishments and all their hard work that they put in to becoming a Champion. Soap Box Derby has taught me so much about competitive spirit, leadership, and aspects of STEM. I will always treasure the memories of participating in the Soap Box Derby and in particular this State House Recognition Day event for our Ohio champions.” Preston Elementary School principal, Tamara Brown says, “The Preston Team is thrilled with the invitation to come to the Statehouse to be recognized for their success in the Soap Box Derby’s Gravity Racing Challenge. The last couple of years have been challenging in the world of education and to have the constant support of our Soap Box Derby throughout the tough times has been amazing. Our fifth-grade students view the program as a highpoint in their elementary experience, and we are grateful for the quality program that we are given. Our fourth graders cannot wait for their turn next year and we sure hope to be back here again at The Statehouse providing them with this once in a lifetime opportunity.” High School educator, Samantha Houmard states, "The Akron Soap Box Derby has helped our transition age youth a great deal in such a short period of time. My kids absolutely love learning how to work on their car independently, problem solve obstacles along the way, develop social skills, and create meaningful inclusion among their peers at Louisville High School."