Pinewood derby provides opportunity for elementary students

Kamarra Williams, Staff Writer

    The Pinewood Derby is a healthy competition for kids that’s been running since 1953. It takes place in various districts across the country in which scouts, with the help of family and friends, carve a car out of wood. Micheal Daly, computer science teacher, is the Cubmaster of the pack in Jackson Park. 

    “We have about 25 boys and girls who are active in the pack that are making cars for the race,” Daly said. “At some point, we all have to learn that hard work will help accomplish a goal. With hard work, perseverance, and help from adults, kids can make some fun and fast cars.” 

    The cars are raced down a track against each other to find the fastest cars. The fastest cars will have the opportunity to race against other cars from other packs in the district. In U. City, there are packs at Jackson Park, Flynn Park and Christ the King. Those cars will then advance into a bigger race until an ultimate winner is crowned. It’s a great learning experience where kids can start to explore design and engineering and see real results from their work.

    Stephen Wurst, woodworking teacher, became involved in the Pinewood Derby 10 years ago by letting the kids build their cars in his workshop where it’s safe. He helps all the kids in the other packs in the district as well. 

    “My favorite part of this experience is getting to know the kids and their families,” Wurst said.

    The kids all meet for about an hour and a half in groups of 3-4 during weekdays to build their cars once a year. During each meeting for car building, the amount of kids varies, but over the years Wurst made over 300 cars with kids. 

    “I hope that most of the students come into this shop and are amazed by it,” Wurst said.

    With the help of Wurst and Daly, kids from different schools get to show their creativity and skill each year. Wurst is retiring this year after teaching at U. City for 26 years. 

    “I give thanks everyday that I’ve been placed where I can help students; I wouldn’t go anywhere else,” Wurst said.