In a manner of speaking, Gentry Middle School students learned faster than ever this year with the sixth annual Gentry Derby. Science teacher Jamie Mosley said entries, built from small blocks of wood similar to the Pinewood Derby cars of Cub Scout fame, this year were clocked at more than 30 miles per hour on the 32-foot track for some of the fastest times ever.
Gentry Principal Paige Badgett credited a successful Bright Idea Grant application by Mosley for continuing to make the race possible in addition to community and business support. She recognized county board of education members and staff present as well as Boy Scouts of America representatives, Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation Safety Officer Randy White, Victory Junction spokeswoman Wendy Carriker and Bowman Gray stock car racer Rick Fleming.
“Your learning has taken place in many different fields,” said social studies teacher Melissa Whitfield to the students. “Today is your test so to speak, to see how well you have acquired your new knowledge. We want you to kick back and enjoy.” She praised the students for selling sponsorships to send a child to Victory Junction. She said students raised more than $2,600.
Local Boy Scouts have served as advisors for the derby since its beginning. Camp Raven Knob Ranger Dave Whitfield told the audience Pinewood Derby competitions are in their 60th year. He said they were inspired by soap box derby races which were deemed too dangerous for Cub Scouts to participate in. He wished all teams good luck and a great race. Other scout members present included Troop 505 Scoutmaster Jeff Mosley and scout district volunteer David Haymore.
Team Zoom had the fastest overall time (2.9 seconds) to capture the Speed Racer Award. The Fast Finish Award for second place went to Tha Gold Show with a time of 3.1 seconds. Fleming selected an entry by The Fast Five for the Fleming’s Flame Award.
The Grandpa Award (for slowest overall time) went to Team Yolo, and Dogin Donkeyz won the Scout’s Choice Award. Teacher Greg Nelson’s Kool Kuts Award for unique car design went to The Perryz. Da Wild Onez were the Principal’s Choice Award winners, and the Power-Up Award went to The Torpedoz. This award is given to the pit crew displaying motivation, energy and excitement and is sponsored by Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation.
The Sportsmanship Award went to two pit crews this year. The Big O’s were selected from the Rodeo academic team, and Tha Hound Dogz from the Safari academic team also were named to this honor. The Spirit of Victory Junction Award with the The Speedyie for being the pit crew showing empathy for junction campers.
The Ka Ching award for raising the most money went to Da Show. Team members Anna Beth Flippin, Reese Westmoreland, Zach Adams and Camille Johnson raised $527 for the effort.
“I cannot thank you parents, students and teachers enough,” said Carriker. “There’s a saying no one cares how much you know unless they know how much you care.”
Fleming even had an entry in the competition which lost by a narrow margin in competition with team Zoom’s entry.
“It’s unbelievable how well you have done,” said Fleming. “The teamwork this school demonstrates is second to none. I am so proud of all of you, and I’m already looking forward to next year.”
Badgett told the group the participation she had seen in the audience was “why I get up and come to work every day.”
“Your enthusiasm and love of learning is remarkable,” said Badgett. “Hats off to you today. Sixth grade, you have something that will be hard to top next year. They’ve set the bar pretty high.”
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.