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On Your Mark, Get Set, and Go, Go, Go For PALS in the PARK!


The sun was shining for the 200 excited children and their chaperons, volunteers, fans, and families from schools and businesses all around the Saint John area. 31 competitors each had a loyal 5-person pit crew who were all excited to get their vehicles across the finish line in the 5th Annual Saint John Soap Box Derby, presented by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists (APEGNB) Saint John Branch. The Derby is a key source of funding for the “PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools) in the Park Program” hosted in partnership with the Lily Lake Pavilion, PALS, and Anglophone School District – South. In total approximately 1400-1600 students participate in the “PALS in the Park” program each year.  

“The Saint John Soap Box Derby was made possible this year because of volunteers with APEGNB Saint John Branch.  They reached out to the Lily Lake Pavilion last July and asked about forming the organizing committee for the Saint John Soap Box Derby 2016. This group gathered volunteers together from their organization, past and new derby volunteers, the City of Saint John, Princess Elizabeth School and PALS to ensure that not only the children participated in the exciting Derby but that the PALS in the PARK Program will continue. This fundraiser financially supports the Lily Lake Pavilion’s PALS in the PARK program. The program will bring approximately 1,400 students from 21 schools on 70 class trips to Rockwood Park for co-curricular enrichment activities. There is no cost to the students or schools - even the transportation costs are covered through the fundraising efforts of the Soap Box Derby and the Kids on the Go Bus.” Deborah Lawton, Lily Lake Pavilion, Saint John Soap Box Derby Coordinator tells us. 

The amateur gravity racing event was held at Cranston Avenue on May 28th, and included participants in both Stock and Super Stock divisions. Cranston Avenue has a history of hosting many soap box derbies.

Teams included children aged 7-17 paired with a supportive pit crew to aid them safely down the track. The derby had two divisions: Stock and Super Stock, with Super Stock being a larger car. Four PALS school vehicles in the Super Stock division were sponsored by JDI companies.

The Stock Division was for racers aged 7-13. Stock Cars are able to accommodate racers up to approximately 5’3” tall and 125 lbs. The Super Stock Division is designed for racers age 10-17 years old. Super Stock cars can accommodate a larger racer up to approximately 6’0” tall and 160 lbs. Irving Paper Limited, Irving Pulp and Paper, and NB Southern Railway each sponsored a vehicle in the Super Stock division, and Atlantic Towing co-sponsored a vehicle with Mariner Partners. 

Final Results:

Stock Division:
1. Amazeatorium 1 – APEGNB
2. Winmar
3. Fundy Shores – Cooke Aquaculture

Super Stock Division:
1. Hazen White St. Francis – Stewart McKelvey/UNBSJ
2. St. Patrick’s School – Irving Pulp and Paper
3. Centennial School – Atlantic Towing/Mariner Partners 

“Every dollar, every cent, everything that is raised from today all goes to PALS Program in the Park and were going to have 1400-1600 kids that get to enjoy a day in the park just because of this one day today.” Says Tanya Horgan, APEGNB, Saint John Soap Box Derby Co-chair. All funds from the 2016 Derby will allow hundreds of students in the Anglophone School District-South to enjoy co-curricular recreational and educational experiences in Rockwood Park. 

Thank you to the volunteer organizing committee, schools, fans, and of course the competitors. Special thanks to the valuable partners in supporting the PALS in the PARK program at Rockwood Park: PALS, the Hatheway Pavilion at Lily Lake, Maritime DayTripping, the Cherry Brook Zoo, Anglophone School District – South, and the City of Saint John. 

About Lily Lake Pavilion

Lily Lake Pavilion Inc., a registered charity & non-profit organization, operates the Hatheway Pavilion at Lily Lake and Lily’s Casual Lakeside Dining located downstairs in the Pavilion. 100% of the profit from the operations of the Pavilion and Lily’s are invested back into community programming in beautiful Rockwood Park. Children need an opportunity to experience the outdoor activities at Rockwood Park that will help contribute to practicing a healthy lifestyle. Healthy students in the present, equals a healthy community in the future.  

About PALS

The PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools) Program addresses the needs associated with students living in poverty. Initiated in Saint John by Mr. James K. Irving and the local school district, PALS has grown to over 30 schools in NB with close to 200 business and community partners and hundreds of volunteers.

PALS partners help impact children’s academic achievements, attendance, school spirit, motivation, social skills, sports activity, and cultural awareness. Volunteer activities include mentoring, coaching, serving breakfast, offering career guidance, organizing after school clubs, and helping behind the scenes. 

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