RIGBY — A small group of students known as the Rigby Rocket Club have taken their love of designing, building and launching rockets to the next level. They’ve earned one of just 100 spots at the Team America Rocketry Challenge national finals in Washington, D.C. on May 20.
“We have run a summer camp for the last four or five years,” says Jeremy Green, the team’s faculty advisor.
Each year, the camp would be topped off with a public launching of a rocket. It was something he hoped would get kids interested in aerospace, astronomy and rocket science.
“It just naturally progressed into (a club) for high school students,” Green said.
And Green says a successful launch is harder than it sounds.
“It has some pretty specific requirements for the mass and payload it has to carry, how high up it goes and if it comes down safely,” he says.
Don’t forget the eggs; they are nestled inside the rocket and must make the trip up and back down without being broken.
All these elements are measured, and each team is ranked by how closely their rocket adheres to the set requirements for the competition. Long hours before school and on Saturday mornings come down to just a few seconds.
Jaxon Hall is a club member and junior at Rigby High School. He wakes up early on weekdays and doesn’t mind giving up Saturday mornings, according to his parents, Riley and Sarah Hall. Jaxon fell in love with rockets when he attended Green’s summer camp as a freshman. His interest has only grown since then, the Halls said.
Rhya Nuffer is a senior this year and acts as the club captain. She became interested in rockets when she took a class from Green last year. Since then, she has become certified in high-powered rockets, which require building and launching her own rockets and passing a written test.
Connor Robison joined the club for the first time this year. He makes the commute from Idaho Falls every week. His mom, Denise Robison, is happy to drive him.
She said they couldn’t find a rocket club or program in Idaho Falls.
But whether it’s a years-long interest or a first time passion, parents agree the Rigby Rocket Club has been good for their kids.
“It gives them a place,” Sarah Hall said. “It gives them a focus.”
“He has really enjoyed the challenge of building and designing the rockets,” said Krishele Duffin, whose son, Andrew, is a first-year member of the club.
He gets a lot of satisfaction from using his problem solving skills to meet the specific rocket launch height requirements, she says.Jeremy Green looks on as students prepare a rocket for launch. | Mary Boyle, EastIdahoNews.com
Fundraising for the national finals is in full force. Green estimates the trip to nationals could cost as much as $20,000. Krishele Duffin has started a GoFundMe page to help out.
“We need to pay for airfare, hotels, transportation to get around while we are there and, of course, food (we are growing teenagers!),” the page reads.
Donations can also be made to the Jefferson Education Foundation.
Local businesses can sponsor the team and have their logo on the rocket. The company logo would also appear on the team’s shirts when they go to nationals.
Our attorneys tell us we need to put this disclaimer in stories involving fundraisers: EastIdahoNews.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.