Rocket program presented at Golden K

From left, are Sharon Scholke, Golden K program chairman; Destiny Smejkal, Maddy Doucette and Bill Bertoldi.   

KINGSFORD — The first day of spring, according to the calendar has come and gone, along with Easter. Looking out the window causes one to speculate what will be next. The sun is doing its best to melt the snow, although it seems to be a slow process — one drop at a time. Just as things start to become promising, Mother Nature comes along with just one more surprise.

As Golden K seniors can attest to, nothing surprises them anymore. They take each day in stride and turn the unexpected into joyful singing, acappella when necessary. With illness keeping the piano player out of commission and singing being important to these seniors, the “show” must go on.

Sharon Scholke, as chairperson for April, begins the meeting leading the group. Beginning each meeting this way sets the precedent for the coming week. Welcoming guests for the day brings smiles making everyone feel at home. The Golden K welcomed Bill Bertoldi, Maddy Doucette, Destiny Smejkal, students from Kingsford High School, and Kathy Arnold, director RSVP.

Happy Birthday wishes to Bill Trudell, April10; Ken Schultz, April 11, and Iris Machus, April 14.

The 50/50 drawing was won by Ken Schultz and many Happy Dollars reflected, glad to see some snow birds returning, though they were having second thoughts, it was a good feeling to be back in Iron Mountain.

Years ago while attending high school we went on field trips, sometimes by bus, had trips to museums and that was about it. Here comes another change for students. Bill Bertoldi has a passion for rockets. Developing a program for high school students became a reality and many students are glad for that. Even though the students put in their time and efforts after school that does not deter them from being involved 100 percent.

With the aid of a Power Point, two student “Rocketeers,” Destiny and Maddy, Bill walked the Golden Kers through the program. Both girls have attained nicknames while working with these projects. Maddy can lift these rockets with little effort thus her nickname, “Muscle” and Destiny has the artistic touch which earned her the name “Artist.” Maddy “Muscle” used her nickname ability changing the slides — pictures of launchings. However that is not what she earned her “title” muscle for. She carries these rockets around like they were made of paper. And if you were to lift one you would soon discover they are big, rather awkward and heavy. Explaining the process of building, testing, friendly competition, learning a skill that will carry them into other programs in their future; it was easy to see the interest the students have for this program.

Maintaining safety as a priority at all times, these students design rockets. They draw the rocket, then set up the grid to measure velocity (feet-seconds), accretion, deployment (feet-seconds), altitude deployment (feet). The rockets are built using precise measurements to ensure proper balance, speed, reaching right altitudes and the parachute on deployment, making certain the rocket, all parts and pieces, will return to the ground safely and close by the launch area. Not always having the proper tools, the students sometimes have to improvise other materials to use. They sand and carefully paint each rocket and give it a name, each name has a meaning and/or purpose.

Several rockets were brought along for members to see and handle to get the feel of the intricate designs as well as the weight. Destiny “the Artist” via the Power Point showed the group how she painted the rocket designed after “McDonald’s Happy Meal Minion” — rockets have been built using super heros, bowling ball, basketball, whatever the student envisions is instilled in the rocket.

Working with Michigan Tech, following the requirements for paperwork, inspections and safety measurements brought this program to fruition for Bertoldi. His goal for 2020 is to build one in memory of his mom and her courageous battle with cancer – the rocket’s name will be “Beat Cancer.” His program has been recognized in U.S. News and World Report, voted Best High School Program in Michigan, and has earned awards from the Dickinson Conservation District and National Association of Rocketry to name just a few.

This program has 60-70 percent success rating for students who will go on to college and pursue an education in science-math and/or engineering. It opens doors of opportunity while they learn, explore and enjoy the results of their collaborative efforts. A question and answer session followed.

The Golden Throats will not sing at the area nursing homes until further notice. At this time we apologize for any inconvenience.

The general meeting of the Golden K, set for Monday, April 16, at the First Presbyterian Church in Kingsford will have Gary Proudfit presenting his program on cars and dealerships –now and then.