Houston high school students to compete in rocketry competition

Madison High School students build rocket that group will launch this weekend


HOUSTON – A team of students from Madison High School has built a rocket that they are expected to launch at the world's largest model rocket contest in Washington, D.C.

Houston Independent School District officials said the students are among only 100 school teams from across the country to qualify to compete in the national finals of the Team America Rocketry Challenge. The students are members of the Sensation Station rocket club at Madison High School.

This year's challenge will require students to build and launch a rocket carrying two eggs at exactly 850 feet high. Officials said the rocket must remain in flight for 44 to 46 seconds and return with no cracks on either egg.

"I am so proud of the Madison High School rocket club team. They are outstanding representatives of our school district, exemplifying qualities required for success: Hard work, perseverance and studious preparation," said HISD Board of Education Trustee Wanda Adams, who represents the school. "The sky is the limit for these talented students. Our hopes for them soar higher than their rocket this weekend, much like their unlimited potential for the future. I wish them the best of luck."

Houston ISD said the team members competing are Cristhian Benavides, Leonel Henrriquez, Justin King, Dennis Ngyuen, Cristian Ramirez and Kelon Tidwell. Students Christina Hillard and Angel Reyes also helped build the rocket.

"I am very proud of our rocket team, their enthusiasm and hard work," said Madison physics teacher Dr. Maqsuda Afroz, who coordinates the rocket club. "This is an enormous achievement, which I hope will serve as an inspiration to all of our students."

The contest aims to encourage students to study science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. Houston ISD said nearly 800 teams from all 50 states entered this year's contest, which is sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Association of Rocketry and more than 20 industry partners.

The teams will compete for prizes and scholarships totaling more than $100,000. Houston ISD said the winning team will travel to the Farnborough International Air Show in London, courtesy of the Raytheon Company, to compete in the International Rocketry Challenge with teams from France, the United Kingdom and Japan.

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