Rocket science

Fifth-grade girls take first place in Junior Division of MOST challenge

— Three teams of State Street School students were among the youngest participants in the 2011 Museum of Science and Technology (MOST) Rocket Team Challenge that finished with a launching on Syracuse University's Skytop Field earlier this month.

And one of the State Street School teams — "The Lovely Ladies of Room 208" — took first place in the Junior Division for students from fourth grade through eighth grade. Ellie Angus, Natalie Condon and Kathryn Nicholson (fifth graders in Kelley McQuiggan's class) were tops out of a total of 69 teams in the Junior Division of the competition.

The two other teams from State Street ranked in the top 25 percent of their category.

Thousands of people showed up on June 4 to watch the launching of more than 117 rockets by students in grades four through 12.

Placing seventh in the Junior Division was State Street School team "3, 2, 1 Blast Off": including Boaz Arold, TJ Greenfield and Will Townsend. State Street School team "Rip Roaring Rocketeers" came in 15th place. Team members were Will Congel, Sam McClintic, Michael Murphy and Haas Tehan.

All of the State Street School teams' students but one were from Kelley McQuiggan's fifth grade class. Student Willie Townsend was from Betsy Smith's fourth grade class.

McQuiggan said the volunteer challenge was possible because of parents Mary Jo and Peter Nicholson, who are both teachers in other districts and offered to help students interested in taking the rocket team challenge.

"We did the bridge building challenge sponsored by MOST with their help this winter," McQuiggan said. "They came in this spring and said 'do you want to try the rockets'?" she recalled. The meetings and work times took place in her room after school in May, with the Nicholsons doing the instruction. Parents of other students helped as well.

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