By Dave Ongie, News Editor
On the day before the inaugural S’Mores Speedway Derby, the excitement was already palpable.
Nearly 50 local Girl Scouts spent Friday afternoon getting the pinewood derby cars they created measured and weighed in advance of Saturday’s race. By Saturday morning, their excited voices echoed off the walls of the National Guard Armory building in Gray as the competition began.
Hidden beneath the bright paint jobs and sparkling glitter that adorned many of the racing machines were hours of valuable science, technology, engineering and math education. Natacha Trammell, an administrator with the local Girl Scout Troup 815, said the event was born out of a desire to give local girls scouts a fun way to earn their STEM badges.
“This gives them a chance to kind of work on those badges to get the creativity going,” Trammell explained. “Science can really be fun, and so can technology. For some of these girls, they got to work with tools they’ve never worked with, and they got to experience things they’ve never experienced.”
Among the experiences for some of the girls was the thrill of victory. The top three winners in each age group walked away with a medal.
Laurel Cooper (Daisy), Abby Nixon (Brownie) and Emily Pogue (Junior/Cadette) won their individual age groups. A final race was held as the best of the best in each age group squared off. Nixon was the overall winner while Lydia Rasnake finished second and Madeleine Love finished third.
The scouts were also able to vote for the best looking cars in a variety of categories. Magnolia Allen (Best Girl Scout Theme), Gwendolyn Miller (Best Paint Job), Lyla Haws (Most Patriotic), Taylor Trammell (Most Creative) and Khaliyah Carney (Best in Show) were the winners in the design competition.