April 5, 2013
Rocket club soars into national competition
Chip Ellis
Gretchen Evans, Ashlin Douglas and Eric Hamilton, some of the members of the Falcon Rocket Club at John Adams Middle School, show off the rocket that landed them a spot in a national competition next month.
Chip Ellis
The Falcon Rocket Club from John Adams is one of 100 out of 725 teams that entered and will participate in the Team America Rocketry Challenge on May 11 in The Plains, Va.
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Greg Mallory, the seventh-grade science teacher at John Adams Middle School, could hardly contain himself when he found out his rocket club had qualified for the national competition.

"I got the email that we had made the top 100 and everyone was in a meeting," he said. "I was running out of people to tell."

Finally, Mallory reached Scott Hamilton, one of the club's parent mentors.

"I think I screamed in the phone," Hamilton said.

The Falcon Rocket Club from John Adams is one of 100 teams out of 725 that entered and will participate in the Team America Rocketry Challenge on May 11 in The Plains, Va.

High schools from Farmington, Glenville and Martinsburg will also attend. However, John Adams was the only middle school with a team to qualify in the state.

Students are competing for more than $60,000 in scholarships and a chance to participate in NASA's Student Launch Initiative, according to a news release about the competition.

Last month, a judge watched as the team managed to fly its rocket close to 750 feet high and reach a flight time of about 50 seconds. The competition requirements also demanded that the rocket carry a raw egg sideways and not break.

Eric Hamilton, a sixth-grader and Scott's son, pulled off the nose from his club's winning rocket earlier this week, showing where the egg had been stored during flight. Club members plan to meet twice a week until the competition.

"We'll better protect the egg," he said.

The students now plan to build a new rocket they will take to the competition, using what they've learned works best.

Actually, students will build two rockets, as one will be an "emergency backup," Eric Hamilton said.

"Hopefully the first one won't break, though," said Ashlin Douglas, also a sixth-grader.

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