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PHOTOS: Simmons Stampede at PSH

Published on Thursday, May 12, 2022

students checking out pinewood car closeup of derby cars


Thursday afternoon was a big one for Philip Simmons High as a handful of students (and a couple of staff members) participated in the second annual Simmons Stampede event.

For the past couple of weeks, about 40 students have been getting ready to race tiny little pinewood derby cars down a track, in hopes of having the fastest (or maybe even the slowest) car and walking away with a prize.

Corporal Cephus Rogers serves as the school resource officer, and in his free time he enjoys building these pinewood derby cars, and racing them – which is how the Simmons Stampede came about last year.

Rogers worked with engineering teacher Kate Sablotsky to put on the event, inviting students to pick up derby car kits from the latter to enter into the big race.

Not only did Sablotsky provide the car kits, she also invited students to utilize the tools in her engineering classrooms in order to construct their cars. The cars could not exceed 5 ounces, so to help students figure out how to design their cars, Sablotsky encouraged them to look up videos online that could give the students some pointers on how to make their cars go faster.

Staff members raced the cars four at a time on a nifty track that could record the cars' racing time. There were prizes for the first, second and third-place winners, as well as a Best in Show award that students voted on, but there was also a giant wooden spoon – painted silver – meant for whoever’s car that went the slowest on the track; some students intentionally designed their cars to go slow in order to score the coveted “Wooden Spoon” trophy.

Ultimately, 11th-grader Maxton Negreiros came out on top with the fastest car (he also received a lot of support from a group of girls in his AP chemistry class who made posters for him in the crowd). Tenth-grader Cody Stuckey placed second and ninth-grader Blake Jones took third. Ninth-grader Luke Pawlik eagerly accepted the Wooden Spoon while 11th-grader Audra Alls won Best in Show with her Starbucks latte-themed car.

Check out more photos from the event.