A report from the Reach for the Stars National Rocket Competition on the 2017 results:

Reach for the Stars

~ National Rocket Competition Winners to Celebrate at
Space Camp / US Space & Rocket Center


Contestants in the 11th annual Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition had to build and launch their own solid-fuel powered rocket at an event held in their area. The Competition promotes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education and is run in memory of Christa McAuliffe / first Teacher-in-Space. Local Competitions were held by schools, scout troops, youth centers, museums, and rocket clubs across the country in this year long event.

In response to the nation’s call for more interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) activities – over 1500 kids across the nation participated in the eleventh annual Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition. At the end of the competition those who had the “Right Stuff”* were victorious. The annual Competition, for ages ten to eighteen, runs continuously.

Their rockets soar 200 feet into the air to return by parachute. The closest average landing to an on-field target wins the local event. The local winner’s results were forwarded to RFTS Competition headquarters to be compared to all entries received. The closest were declared the national winners.

Jessica Flowers, Lilianna Henry, Kyle Hughes, Sophia Jasso, Victoria Miterko and Jordyn Presley took the top honors this year. Joining the group will be Minnesota Civil Air Patrol cadet, Nathan Jones – one of last year’s winners.

The national winners will be invited to celebrate their success at Space Camp / US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. As part of the celebration they get to launch their rockets from Homer Hickam Field** under an October Sky. The winners will be presented a Space Shuttle Challenger commemorative medal with certificate signed by Astronaut Jon McBride. Captain McBride piloted the Challenger on her early missions.

With their families, the winners will continue their celebration; seeing the Pathfinder Space Shuttle, standing in the world famous Rocket Park, climbing the Mars Wall, riding the Astronaut Simulators and visiting the Challenger Astronaut Memorial – honouring the memories of those lost in the conquest of space.

Competition co-director, Kathy Colpas says,

We promise the national winners – memories to last a lifetime and bragging rights for generations to come. Launching their rockets from a memorable location and being honored under the historical Saturn V rocket allows us to fulfill our promise.

Jessica Flowers won her local competition at Prairie Trace Elementary in Carmel, Indiana under the direction of teacher Sandi Johnson.

Lilianna Henry and Victoria Miterko won their local events while competing at Citrus Springs Elementary in Citrus Springs Florida. Tina Hackey was the Competition host.

Kyle Hughes launched at Hockomock YMCA in N. Attleboro, Massachusetts with Associate Director of Children’s Services, Kim Jennings.

Sophia Jasso competed in Santa Ana, California at Mendez Fundamental Intermediate School under the direction of teacher, Andrea Earl.

Jordyn Presley took top honors while launching with Bagdad Elementary in Milton, Florida. This event was run by teacher Tammy Dillard. The Competition at this school was funded by a NASA grant through the Florida Space Grant Consortium.

Nathan Jones, a Civil Air Patrol cadet from the 130th Composite Squadron, Lakeville, Minnesota was one of last year’s national winners. He will attend this year’s celebration.

Several companies have joined together to provide unforgettable memories for the national winners of the annual Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition.

Without the generosity of these businesses, this winners’ celebration would not be possible.

Sponsors receive national recognition and the satisfaction of – Helping Kids Reach for the Stars. More information is available at www.RocketCompetition.com .

Jack and Kathy Colpas, co-directors of the Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition are retired public school educators with over 50 years of classroom experience. “Our goal is to give kids the educational experience of building and launching a solid-fuel powered rocket. Our purpose is to foster an interest in model rocketry, STEM subjects and aeronautics. Our mission is to keep alive the memory of the first Teacher-in-Space, Christa McAuliffe.”

* Thomas Wolfe, The Right Stuff – (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) 1979

**Homer Hickam is the author of the inspirational memoir, Rocket Boys which became the movie October Sky.