Students with Special Needs Gear Up for Soap Box Derby

Students with special needs at an elementary school are gearing up for their first ever Soap Box Derby. NY1's Aaron Dickens spoke with several students and the veterans who are helping building their cars.

At speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, Ivan Torres describes what he likes about racing a soap box car. 

"Getting to go down the hill because it's fast and makes your hair go crazy," he said.

Students at P.S. 57 are gearing up for the Soap Box Derby World Championships in Akron, Ohio this July. The youth racing program has been around since the 1930s. Students have won both citywide and national titles.

Last year, the school found out about "Super Kids." It’s a race where students with special needs can participate. 

"We decided we could come back to Staten Island, and somehow, we would get a group a Super Kids Car for P.S. 57 so that all children at the school will be involved," said Patricia Lockhart, a science teacher at the school.

Local veterans and students are working together to build the cars. ​They get together every week. 

"It's something we wanted to do. We wanted to get into the community other than just veterans. This is the perfect project," said a veteran.

"I am making a person that has special needs happy, so it makes me happy," Torres said.

Each of those students will ride with an experienced student driver in a two-seater car. 

"They are building a special car for us. It is nice what they are doing for us," said a student.

"And I think some people are going to win," said another student.

The first competition will be held in Central Park on Father's Day. Winners of the citywide championship will then advance to the international championships in Ohio.

Lockhart says every special needs student will receive a trophy.

"It's jusy very fulfilling to me personally in my heart. It makes me choke up," she said.

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