VOLNEY – Lessons in science and perseverance sent several colorful rockets into the air at Volney Elementary School.
For Volney sixth graders, the introduction to rocketry began with three Newton’s Laws of Motion: objects at rest will stay at rest, and objects in motion will stay in motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an unbalanced force; force is equal to mass times execration; and for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction.
Teacher Bill Cahill said the entire unit reached far beyond scientific measures and into lessons of perseverance and learning from failure.
Each of the sixth grade classes studied Homer Hickam, who aimed to grow up to be a rocket engineer but had no support from his father.
He persevered through his struggles to fulfill his dream, just as through trial and error, students perfected piecing together their rockets together.
As students studied rocket components and pioneers, they also read “Yes Pa” by World War II veteran Fred Sarkis. The book chronicles Sarkis’ childhood lessons of overcoming struggles in order to reach various levels of achievement.
A recording of President John F. Kennedy’s famous moon speech played before Cahill led a countdown before the first rocket blasted off into the air.
Sarkis also constructed a rocket and launched his rocket named “Maybel” alongside the youngsters.
One of those students, Mackenzie Kerfien, said she was ecstatic to further explore her love of space and rocketry.
She borrowed books from Cahill on the space program although Kerfien had been all too familiar with the process.
She has her own launch pad and rocket kits at home.
“It’s exciting when you get to launch them!” she said. “I love rockets.”