Pion Rocket Club takes to the sky during rocket launch

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By Special to the Monitor

Look up in the sky! Its a bird! Its a plane! No, its one of more than 20 rockets launched by members of the Pion Rocket Club during an early morning assembly at the school. Students at the school participated in the countdown for each launch, which featured rockets with names such as Big Bertha, Big Daddy and Screaming Eagle.

There was also a three-stage rocket, a rocket that measured more than 5 feet and one less than 5 inches tall.

First-grade teacher Scot Carmody started the rocket club three years ago at Pion. It is open to fifth- and sixth-grade students and is limited to 25 students. Meetings were held weekly starting after winter break to give students plenty of time to complete their rockets before the scheduled launch preceeding spring break.

Through the creation and flight of model rockets, students gain experience with lift, propulsion and aerodynamics, among other things.

Creating model rockets gives students practice in reading, interpreting, and following directions, said Carol Hermes, a fifth- grade teacher and club advisor. It requires them to use fine motor coordination to craft a final product, and it encourages camaraderie with other rocketeers.

Nick Telles, a fourth-grade teacher at Pion, also helped with the club.

Robb Hermes and Tom Beach, members of the Zia Spacemodelers Rocket Club, helped as well, especially with the launch. Parent volunteers who were able to lend a hand included Ray and Fran Flesner, Keith Thomas, Joe English, Wendy Skidmore, Natalie Sinnis, Monique Rochester, Tina Forsman, Monique Paige, Fred and Theresa Hampel, and Pieter and Aletta Swart.

Pion Rocket Club members for 2008 are Trisha Barks, Daniel Ben-Naim, Adam Brehm, Dillon Dugan, Mary Kate English, James Flesner, Sam Flesner, Chris Funk, Jeremy Goettee, Jenz Hampel, Aletta Marciano, Collin McClenahan, Eric Paige, Chris Parker, Chase Rochester, Chris Rohlev, Jonathan Schueler, Jimmy Sinnis, Wesley Skidmore, Dallin Stokes, Alex Swart, Jodi Thomas, and Alexander Wang.