Chamisa & Pinon Schools Host Rocket Launch Event

Twenty-two students participated in the Piñon Elementary Rocket Club this year. Courtesy/LAPS

Members of this year’s Rocket Club at Chamisa Elementary. Courtesy/LAPS

LAPS News:

Rockets soared up in the sky at elementary schools in White Rock as both Chamisa Elementary and Piñon Elementary Rocket Clubs recently hosted their rocket launches for students and staff.

The rocket clubs at both schools are open to 6th grade students who meet weekly following Winter break to learn about rockets and start building rockets from kits. Their work culminates in the annual launches held in late March or early April, depending on the weather.

At Piñon Elementary, 22 6th graders met every Monday after school starting in January. Sixth grade teacher Lana Martin was the club sponsor this year. In addition, Los Alamos High School students Brandon Stokes and Wilson White volunteered each week to help with the club. Community volunteers included Robb Hermes (who also assisted with the Chamisa Rocket launch), Tom Beach, Ray and Fran Flesner, and Lucia Short.

This year’s club members included Jon Adams, Calah Crittenden, Will Fichtel, Elijah Fullner, Koen Frye, Gavin Gayner, Joseph Gurule, Ali Hijazi, Michael Hopwood, Viplav Kranthijanya, Emmalyn Lee, Zach Martinez, Eli Mason, Sam Mecham, Gavin Miller, Grace Norman, Alex Short, Jasper Stauffer, Ethan Steck, Felicity Trujillo, Harper Van Winkle, and Kevin Zou.

Awards were given to Crittenden and Mason for best deportment, and Lee for best paint job. Norman received the best overall rocket award, given to the student who did the best job constructing and painting a rocket.

Ten students participated in the Chamisa Rocket Club which was led by Heath Watkins and Kandus Jeffers. They met every Monday beginning in January. “We start the course learning about general rocketry but then dive into the concepts of model rocketry,” explained Mr. Watkins. “Students learn about how rocket engines are designed, how to identify different pieces of a rocket and then transition into building a model rocket kit. Our kits are balsa wood kits that require building an engine mount, adding shock cords, launch lugs, fins, parachutes and nose cones as well as painting the rocket.”

At the launch, students had a challenge from Mr. Watkins and Mr. Hermes to catch their rocket or catch it in “style”. After launching, students watched how high their rocket went then ran off trying to catch them before touching the ground.

Members this year included Aidan Conley, Mateo Gonzales, Jeremiah Gutierrez, Sebastian Holtkamp, Isaac Jaurigue, Maebry Jeffers, Michale Mainville, Zachary Thomas, Morgan Treat, and Austin Watkins.

Students who received awards were Morgan Treat and Issac Jaurigue for best deportment, and Maebry Jeffers for best paint job. The best overall award went to Michale Mainville.

Rocketeers at Pinon Elementary set up their rockets for launch. Courtesy/LAPS

Getting ready to push the button to launch at the Chamisa Elementary rocket launch. Courtesy/LAPS

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