John F. Kennedy’s “We choose to go to the moon” speech spoken at Rice University flooded the speakers placed behind Volney Elementary school as more than 50 sixth graders prepared to launch their homemade rockets.
“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win,” said JFK.
The yearly event blends social studies (in the history of U.S. technology and advancement), science (in the assembling of the rocket’s engine mount and fins for maximum distance) and even art (in the decorating of the project).
Students, teachers and parents counted down from five as sixth grade teachers William Cahill and Daniel Bartlett assisted each student with the launch detonation panel, two by two.
After the rockets hit maximum height, a parachute deployed; many students ran and dove to catch their rockets mid-air.
The model rocket kits from the OCM BOCES Science Center are a project that every sixth grader looks forward to.
“My favorite part is when I get to launch the rocket,” said sixth grader Erin Phillips from Ms. Zimmerman’s class.
The rocket project reinforces a sense of community among students as each student is cheered on by their peers and greeted with applause and laughter after catching their aircraft.