By LINDA LOBECK
KINGSFORD - Kingsford High School students have been building rockets for the past 15 years through the High Power Rocketry Program.
Bill Bertoldi, adviser of the Kingsford High School High Powered Rocketry Program, is shown here with Kari Byron of Myth Busters during a filming of the Science Channel’s show Large and Dangerous Rocket Ships. Bertoldi is awaiting the score of the KHS rocket, Buster’s Revenge from the judges during the competition. A special showing of the program featuring the KHS rocket will be presented Thursday at 7 p.m. at KHS auditorium.
And during this time, the program has received a lot of positive attention and recognition.
The latest accomplishment by the group was to build a rocket that will be featured on the Science Channel's show, "Large and Dangerous Rocket Ships." The show can be viewed on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Kingsford High School auditorium, announced adviser Bill Bertoldi.
On this show, a rocket built by KHS students was entered in an Odd Rocket competition at Tripoli's National Rocket Launch called Large and Dangerous Rocket Ships.
"This is a competition where rockets that people would think would not be able to fly are actually made to take flight," Bertoldi said.
The rocket built by the KHS group is a life-size bobble head rocket that was flown in New York for competition. Adam Savage, of the show Myth Busters, has a bobble head where he is tied to a rocket. The video featuring the KHS program is hosted by Kari Byron of Myth Busters.
In addition to video, a display of the KHS rocket project will also be set up in the hallway outside of the auditorium, Bertoldi said.
"The Adam Savage bobble head rocket, called Buster's Revenge, is 16 feet long, 12 inches in diameter and weighed 180 pounds on liftoff. A launch of the rocket is planned in March or April with the rocketry students in southern Wisconsin," he added.
On Large and Dangerous Rocket Ships, three different categories of competitive rocketry are featured including odd rockets, in which the KHS rocket is showcased.
The strangest, funniest and most original rockets and in past years have included things like a flying port-o-potty, a tiki bar and a replica of R2D2.
Also featured are experimental and human interest rockets and dark matter altitude interest rockets.
Even from the beginning of the program in 1998, the KHS students were featured in public service announcements sponsored by the Michigan Education Association. The KHS program had also been selected for a Showcasing Public Schools Success award.
In 2003, four KHS students qualified for Team America Rocketry Challenge in Great Plains, Va. The competition included launching a rocket as close to 1,500 feet as possible.
The students also got a chance to visit with Homer Hickum, an engineer from NASA whose life story is featured in the movie, "October Sky."
During 2003, the KHS program received the Daimler-Chrysler Engineering Educator Award naming it one of the top 20 pre-college engineering programs in the state of Michigan.
By 2004, the program and Bertoldi were recognized during the National Association of Rocketry Convention as the 2005 winners of the Cannon Education Award. Bertoldi was also a presenter at the convention, which focused on education and rocketry.
An added dimension to the program in 2006, Bertoldi organized with the students the first high-power rocket launch in the U.P. at the former Groveland Mine site near Randville.
These launches have continued twice a year and the general public is able to come and watch as well as launch their own rockets at the site. The launches have been held in the fall and the spring each year weather permitting.
In 2007, the KHS rocketry program was awarded a grant totaling $3,870 from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium for funding the program the next year.
Money from the grant was used to help with the cost of the payloads, tracking devices to find rockets, motors for the launches, altimeters to control the flight of the rockets and some rocket kits.
This is just another feather in the cap of the KHS program and adviser.
"Come and see how we did when we competed against some of the nation's best amateur rocketeers," Bertoldi said.
Linda Lobeck's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.