Rocket Club

May 28, 2019 |Vicki Raven

The National Fly Off held in The Plains, VA on Saturday, May 18 was special in that the event was dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission that culminated in the landing on the moon on July 20, 1969.  In honor of that the Oak Park team dressed in vintage 1969 Mission Control outfits.  Complete with short-sleeve white shirts and skinny ties.  

Here are our results:

1st Place in Presentation – $500 prize, 1st Place in Outreach – $500 prize and 21st Place in Flying

Due to this, the team has been invited to participate in the NASA Student Launch Initiative for the next school year.  The program involves designing and building a large high-power rocket under the direction and supervision of NASA engineers over the course of the year.  It culminates in the team launching the rocket at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL in April 2020.  

Dr. Tony Knight that leads the Rocket Club stated. “The students are super excited to say the least.  They did an amazing job in their work this year and the presentation they gave at the finals was complete and informative.  Their outreach program for the year involved presenting at the California State STEAM Conference in Long Beach, helping children build rockets at the Wings Over Camarillo Air Show, showing rockets at the elementary school Science Nights, STEM Day at the Oak Park Library, and more.”  

Students on the team are:
Andrew Wells – Captain, Matthew Jarecky, Charlie Nicks, Charlotte Love, Alexander Kaufman, Koby Yousem, Haniah Hamza and Zoe Berger

These two students were on the other of the two teams we had but came to the finals to assist with logistics and other tasks.  They will be on the NASA SLI Team:  Forest Siewert and Matin Nawabi.

STATEMENT BY TONY KNIGHT: This was an extraordinary authentic learning experience for our students.  Their outreach project and presentation required them to develop a deeper understanding of their work so that they could share it with others.  They were able to generate enthusiasm for rocketry, aviation, and space exploration, capitalizing on the natural interests in these topics of both children and adults.  The TARC parameters were particularly challenging this year and to finish 21st out of 900 teams in the nation, showed that they were able to problem-solve, be creative, and test and fly, test and fly.  This is what engineers to when they are designing airplanes and rockets.  

Earning an opportunity to participate in the NASA Student Launch Initiative will allow the students to take what they have learned this year to an even higher level, working with NASA engineers on a complex large rocket project and launching it at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Al in April 2020.  

The Rocket Club is always looking for more sponsors – would you like to join our team?  Your logo will appear on our TARC Rocket that we hope will be flown at the National Fly-Off outside of Washington D.C. this coming May.  Be a part of it!

Call Dr. Tony Knight at 818.735.3206 or email him at


“Education is the principal agent for change for the next generations to shape a better future. An educated society will make good decisions and do the most to change income inequality. An investment in the Oak Park Education Foundation offers more than ten times the output in results. In fact, it is priceless!”

Advait Shinde, Technology Entrepreneur, Oak Park High Graduate

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