POINT PLEASANT — The competition was on as members of the Life Skills class as Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School (PPJSHS) took part in their annual Pinewood Derby on Tuesday.
For many years now, the pinewood derby has been a favorite event of the students and staff and anticipation for this day has been growing the past few weeks.
“They love it,” said Teacher Rhonda Blankenship about the derby. She continued, saying the students have been working on their cars for around three weeks and have been preparing to once again win the races against the teachers. The other Life Skills teachers are Shirley Billings and Darlene Russell.
Blankenship said every student will receive a trophy and, as with any race, the coveted awards are the ones for speed. Winning the speed champion trophies this year were, in first place, Ashley Morrison; second place, Hope Cook; and third place, Levi Campbell. Other winners in the following categories were as follows:
Best Paint Overall — first place, Augusta Wright; second place, Levi Campbell; third place, Larry Slayton.
Coolest Car Design — first place, Hope Cook; second place, Melinda Harvey; third place, Sky Saber.
Best Paint — first place, Jesse Ebert; second place, Mackenzie Craig; third place, Heather Gibbs.
Best Design — first place, Matt Blakely; second place, Daniel McDaniel; third place, Ashley Morrison.
Most Original — first place, Michael Harper; second place, Rodney Cornell; third place, Hope Jones.
Most Unusual — first place, Heather Anderson; second place, Justin Lambert; third place, Brook Zink.
Also involved with the derby again this year was Joe Smith, who helps the students by cutting out their pinewood cars and has for many years. Smith said the students design their cars and once cut out, they are returned so the students can decorate and embellish them as they see fit.
Like last year’s competition, they began the day with the National Anthem performed by Josie Fisher and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Megan Davis, before diving into the double elimination tournament. Each individual competition consisted of two races, and possibly a tie-breaking third race, and the competitor had to win two of the races to advance in the brackets.
In addition to the bracket races, there were also several “grudge” matches strictly for bragging rights with the students competing against other teachers and staff and visiting community members.