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Local Soapbox Derby team wins big


The Barberton Soap Box Derby team placed first in two divisions at the high school competition in May. Barberton senior Nicole Williams is a two-time champion for the Gravity Racing Challenge in the Super Stock division at Derby Downs in Akron.

Front row from left, Nicole Williams, Paul Joliat (race winner engineering challenge). Back row from left, Jeremy Sharp, Angelina Setser, Jullian Osborne, Kenyon Bruzda, Heleena Goble, Russell Wolf, Hunter Kelly. The Cleveland Browns theme car won first place in the engineering challenge.


BGNN managing editor

BARBERTON The high school’s Soap Box Derby team usually focuses on “go” more than “show” but this past spring, the Barberton team won the top prize in both categories at the annual competition at Derby Downs in Akron.

The Barberton High School Soap Box Derby Team finished first in both the super stock and the engineering design challenge divisions at the high school Gravity Racing Challenge in May.
Winning teams from the GRC competitions, as well as winning teams from regionals around the state of Ohio are honored every year at the statehouse in Columbus, according to Mike Farren, adviser for the team and technology education teacher.
The statehouse recognition event was to take place over the summer, and Farren and his students had a challenge of making it to Columbus for the event.

Because of Barberton City School District’s strong commitment to STEM and the Soap Box Derby, Farren said the statehouse decided to bring the recognition ceremony to Barberton. He said Linda Hubble, International Soap Box Derby education director, along with State Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron), hosted an awards ceremony Sept. 21 at Barberton High School.

“Each student received a commendation letter from Governor DeWine and Secretary of State LaRose and a plaque from the Soap Box Derby,” Farren said.

Since 1933, the Soap Box Derby has been a tradition – and it all got its start right here in Ohio. That summer, a journalist named Myron Scott was on assignment in Dayton and came across a group of boys racing their homemade cars, according to

This story appeared in the Oct. 5, 2023 edition of The Barberton Gazette & Norton News. Read the rest of the story in the e-edition. The Barberton Gazette – October 5, 2023 (

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