Blast-off! Rocketry division of JROTC soars

Reaching for the stars, several of the JROTC students have participated in the inaugural year of the Rocketry team, combining aerospace engineering with other STEM fields.

The biggest rocket competition for students around the world, the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) is sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry. It began in 2002 and was initially only going to be a one-year competition in honor of the one hundred year anniversary of human flight, but it was so popular that the organizations made it into an annual event.

According to the TARC website, "This year's contest, themed around the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, challenges students to design, build and fly a rocket carrying three raw eggs in a capsule to an altitude of 856 feet and return it to the ground with the eggs intact within 43-46 seconds."

Abigail Faluotico, a junior on the Mount Olive Rocketry Team, explained that their group is subdivided into four smaller teams. At the beginning of the year they learned about the rules and guidelines for TARC. The students then worked on the design of the rockets, conducting their first test-launch in November under the guidance of team leader, Gaby Colon Melendez.

Faluotico said, "Our first two launches were successful, both of them with good learning curves. Right now we are focusing on getting our rockets to fly straight up until the air so we can reach the required 856-foot altitude. Once we get our rockets to reach altitude, our payload then needs to pop off and deliver the eggs safely to the ground within 43-46 seconds of takeoff."

Chief Robert Bedell, teacher and advisor for JROTC and Rocketry said that since this is the inaugural year of the program, the cadets had to design and build their rockets from scratch. He stated, "The teams successfully built 4 different rockets that each launched off the pad successfully, but unfortunately failed to maintain vertical lift to reach the designated altitude to qualify for the national competition. Many lessons were learned within our first year and the team is still striving to sustain vertical lift and successful payload recovery before the year is out."

With all of the information about aerospace engineering that the students have learned, they are eagerly awaiting the task for next year's competition, as they continue to practice reaching vertical lift and payload recovery.


MOHS Food Pantry supports the community

The Life Skills class is giving back to the community through the implementation of its new MOHS Food Pantry. The idea started when the Life Skills class was studying money management, budgets, and independent living during a class unit.

Mrs. Janice Jerger, one of the teachers of the Life Skills class said, "When presented with the idea of giving back to others, our class leapt at the opportunity to help! In the past staff members have donated coupons and supplies for us to use in our classroom, and that helped us to think of the need in the community as well."

The MOHS Food Pantry functions a little bit differently from traditional food pantries. In addition to providing non-perishable items such as pasta, sauces, soup, juices, peanut butter, cereal, and canned food, the pantry also provides personal hygiene items such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, and toothpaste for men, women, and children.

The government Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) only provides access for low- and no-income families in America to receive food-purchasing assistance. SNAP does not assist with these hygiene items, so the students wanted to make these items available as well.

Students who are interested in receiving items can speak to any guidance counselor or case manager and let them know what items are needed, and the Life Skills class will anonymously pass on the items to the counselor or case manager for distribution.

Mrs. Jerger said, "The students in Magellan are very proud to help. They are a generous and kind bunch of students who are excited to be able to give back."

MOHS staff interested in helping out can drop off coupons in the basket in the mailroom. The students in the Life Skills class will cut out relevant coupons, compare the coupons with the advertisements in the supermarket circulars, and will make shopping lists for additional items to purchase.

To date, the MOHS Food Pantry has received ample donations of items from many staff members and the Key Club. Tinc Road School Guidance Counselor, Ms. Lisa Barba, and her Kindness Ambassadors recently made a generous donation to the food pantry as well.

Anyone interested in donating items to the MOHS Food Pantry can email Mrs. Jerger at janice.jerger@motsd.org for more information.

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