Charles Evans Elementary School counselor David Jones raised his hand in the air and began the countdown in the playground area of the school Tuesday afternoon.
Students in first through fifth grades joined in.
“Five, four, three, two, one, blast off,” the crowd chanted as the first Estes model rocket took off to the sky above the elementary school building.
Tuesday marked the rocket launch for rockets built, designed, decorated and named by each fourth- and fifth-grade class. The day before, students were split into teams to contribute to their classroom’s rocket. Students served as designers and launchers, and some were on the recovery team, which involved watching the rocket closely after it took off to spot and gather the rocket after hitting its final destination.
This is the second year Charles Evans Elementary School has held a rocket day, thanks to grant funding from the Ardmore Enrichment Foundation. The school counselors organized the rocket project as a way to help develop unity in the classroom and class cohesion, said counselor Chandra Arnold.
Students in Lori Farney’s fourth-grade class named their rocket Diversity. The rocket was decorated in both boy and girl colors, and the name was chosen because everyone is different, and that’s okay, said Sara Wilkerson.
Classmate Alexia Koch said Monday and Tuesday were fun days at school when she and her classmates were focused on their rocket.
“We were very excited when our teacher told us,” Alexia said. “I thought it would be fun, and it is. We have learned how to make a rocket.”
Fourth-grader Day’na Baker said she had only participated in a rocket launch once before, and it was at camp.
“I don’t know how far it will go, maybe 600 feet and over the building,” Day’na said before the rocket was launched. “I hope it doesn’t get stuck in a tree.”
The rockets have the capability to reach more than 1,000 feet before coming back down to the ground. Before the launch, Jones said many of the rockets would likely land back on school property, but a few may not be as lucky.
For fifth-grade students, this was a second chance at rocketry. The students participated last spring as fourth graders.
Fifth-grader Chadre McGee said it was not a repeat lesson.
“Every year it is a new experience,” Chadre said. “To see them go up in the air, you never know what they will do.”