Over the moon for Rocket Day at Beaty

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Will McCollough (left) and Kaden Kelly-Pojar launch their rocket for the first time during Beaty-Warren Middle School’s Rocket Day.

Students at Beaty-Warren Middle School were over the moon for the annual Rocket Day on Friday.

About 175 eighth graders launched the rockets they had been studying and building over the past three weeks.

The multi-disciplinary event combines the science and math of the rocketry with essays, history, and lab reports.

Construction took most of a week. “We worked on it for five days,” Destiny Peck of Team Pumpkins said.

And, at the culminating event, many students show their team spirit by wearing matching clothes, hats, or even costumes.

“It’s a fun experience and we wanted to make it more fun by dressing up,” Jaelyn Mohney of the Winnie-the-Pooh themed team. Mohney was dressed as Eeyore, Alyssa Anderson as Winnie the Pooh, and Halee Mineweaser was Kanga.

“We all pitched in to make it look great and our rocket went with our costumes,” Mineweaser said.

“It was a great experience,” Andersen said.

The Elevated Cows — Meredith Morrison, Ellee Irwin, and Makenzie Black — in full regalia, agreed. “It makes it more fun,” Morrison said.

With younger students standing or sitting in the grass around the field, groups of eighth-graders moved to the two launch tables. There, teachers and local NASA Spaceflight Optical Systems Engineer John Mangus, who has worked as a consultant on both the Hubble and Webb space telescopes, among many projects over more than 50 years, assisted the students in safely preparing and launching their rockets.

Each group’s first launch used the smallest rocket engine size — Class A. Subsequent launches could, if the teams so desired, use larger engines — B and C.

After tracking down their rocket after their first launch, Will McCollough and Kaden Kelly-Pojar were looking forward to using those larger engines.

“It’s a fun experience,” McCollough said. He said he hoped their third launch would end up in one of the many trees surrounding the Beaty field.

Morrison was also hoping for more elevation after the team’s first launch was “too short.”

“This was our first launch,” Kaleb Salerno of Team Pumpkins said. “It was really fun and awesome to do.”

Team Pumpkins’ Zoe Light was concerned about using the larger engine. “We’re kind of hoping we can get it back on a (Class) B.”

“It was a learning experience building them and it’s exhilarating when you launch them,” Kelly-Pojar said.

“We suggest other schools try this event,” Mineweaser said.