CRANFORD, NJ - The Girl Scouts of Cranford Cadette Troop 40444 of Hillside Avenue School hosted the fourth annual Pinewood Derby Day Saturday Jan. 28.

The race which was held at the Cranford United Methodist Church saw 184 participants, a record-breaking number. Racers of all ages gathered throughout the day to put their hand-crafted cars to the test, competing for one of the top prizes. 

The four finalists are as follows:
- Fourth-place: Nicole Garcia, Troop 40272
- Third-place: Charlotte DiPaolo, Troop 40688
- Second-place: Madison Zarzecki, Troop 40894
- First-place: Charlotte Ferruggia, Troop 40836

Other categories included: most humorous, most detailed, most bling, best engineered car, best wedge car, best use of glitter, most original, best movie and TV themed car, and best in show. 

Erin Esteves and Stephanie Patterson, the Cadette Troop 40444 leaders, spearheaded the Girl Scout Pinewood Derby four years ago to help encourage STEM learning for the girls within our community.  STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. 

“Encouraging our girls to think outside of the box, to combine engineering and mathematics when designing their cars, adds to the fun of the day”, said Ms. Esteves.  “Each scout is given the same block of wood to start with.  What they create from there is up to their own imaginations.  We’ve seen some amazing inventiveness and craftsmanship over the years and we look forward to making it bigger and better each year.”    

Cadette Troop 40444 also collected canned goods throughout the event to be donated to Cranford Family Cares, a non-profit organization that provides temporary assistance to individuals and families in Cranford, nj. Funding is provided for food, shelter, education and medical assistance when needed.  

The Girl Scouts of Cranford has more than 1,139 Girl Scout Members in 67 troops and Juliette’s making it one of the largest non-profit organizations in town.  The Cranford Service Unit is a part of the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey (GSHNJ) Council which is part of the Girl Scouts of the USA.  If your family is interested in learning more about local Girl Scouts or to find out more information on the Girls Scouts of Cranford, please visit