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April 22, 2014 > Reaching skyward!

Reaching skyward!

Submitted By Mark E. Neal

The Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) kicked off its twelfth season in September 2013. Seven months, thousands of rocket launches, and a few broken eggs later, the field of more than 700 teams has narrowed to 100 finalists. These teams will square off to determine a national champion on May 10 at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia, near Washington D.C.

For the second year in a row, a team of 7th and 8th graders from Newark Jr. High School will compete in the National Finals. Newark Jr. High is the only middle/junior high school in Northern California to qualify. Last yearÕs team finished in 51st place out of 100 teams in the Finals. (Just down the road from the junior high, Newark Memorial High School is sending three teams to the National Finals.) Newark Unified becomes the only district in California to qualify both a middle and high school team.

Students at Newark Jr. High take a Rocketry class in which they learn about the history of rockets, flights, physics, math, and designing rockets while under the guidance of Mr. Drumm, a 7th grade Science teacher. After the Rocket Club team, under the direction of Tom Collett, an 8th grade Science teacher at the school, qualified last year, Principal Mark E. Neal included a rocketry class in the master schedule.

Building and flying rockets requires students to work together, actively listen to each other, respect each otherÕs opinions and advocate for their position without hurting the team; They learn about flight design, understand the mechanics of a rocket, how to think critically about a problem, test a solution, create a mathematical approach, eliminate variables and develop a winning attitude that leads to success.

ÒThis is a phenomenal accomplishment for our students as they represent Newark on a national level. IÕm extremely proud of the students and Mr. Drumm for the work they put in to make this happen,Ó said Principal, Mark E. Neal. The students will be leaving on May 8 to compete during MotherÕs Day weekend.

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