Building the Sankofa/Kaiser Community; Starting with a Soap Box Racer and How You Can Join In

Community building begins face to face, and amidst the tantrums and disruptions of the Sankofa/Kaiser merger, some parents are working on building that community. It started with a simple gesture, building a soap box racer, and it is growing.

A guest post by Oakland parent Reginald Moseley

Saturday, October 12 2019:

Ajarrey Shelton of Sankofa Academy became the first Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) student to race on an OUSD Soap Box Derby Team placing 8th in the stock car division.  Ajarrey used a car donated by the Silicon Valley Soap Box Derby which is aligned with the International Soap Box Derby.  But to have a real race team, Sankofa required it’s own soap box car. 

And a new community came together to make that happen

Sunday, October 27, 2019:

Bryant Besteda and his daughter Breyon of Sankofa Academy along with Loren Olson and his daughter Ana of Kaiser Elementary teamed up with Alisyanah Shelton, also from Sankofa Academy at Bushrod Community Center, a part of Oakland Parks and Recreation, to build the first Sankofa Academy Soap Box Car.  Given the tension surrounding the Sankofa/Kaiser merger it was great to see a family from each school come together to build the car.  The dads worked efficiently as they guided the girls through the process of putting the car together making it fun and engaging.  The only drawback was they could only pose for pictures with their completed project and could not race right away.  The next local race will take place President’s day weekend February 15/16 where there a race ready loaner car which will also be available for a second team from either Sankofa or Kaiser.

This collaboration between Kaiser and Sankofa families was supported by a generous donation from Michael and Kimberly Dapper of Bob Motter Body Shop Inc. (Sankofa’s official sponsor) at 6426 Shattuck Ave in Oakland and other individual donations from Lakisha Young of Oakland Reach, Trinna Davis of Sankofa, Sean McKinney and Reginald Mosley both local community members, Sankofa’s after school program lead by Mr. D, was able to purchase their own soap box car. 

In addition to the soap box car built for Sankofa, Cortrell and Corvell Hornage both of Sankofa Academy teamed up with George Henderson of Bushrod Community Center to build Bushrod’s Soap Box Car? Bushrod will also field a team and may be looking for additional team members.  Thank you George for providing a space for this endeavor to take place.

A third soap box car was built by father and son team of Reginald and Michael Mosley for Michael to race.  Michael attends Montclair elementary.  The Monclair Dad’s club attended as they are considering building a team as well.  The build party was headed up by Deene and Cody Ojeda – another father and son team and local director for the Silicon Valley Soap Box Derby.   Cody has placed in the World Championships multiple times and graciously volunteered to assist the teams not only build their cars, but shared his secrets to make them fast.

Soap box racing is a fun family event which encompasses STEM components not only in building the cars but in racing as well.  There is also STEM training materials available for schools and programs to encompass in their curriculum.  More information on racing and STEM is available at 

If you are interested in learning more about Soap Box Derby and possibly creating a team at your school in the Oakland area, please contact Reginald Mosley at [email protected] or visit our web site at .

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