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Rocket team finishes Top 10 in nation

It was another moment of success for the RCS Engineering rocket students when this year’s TARC winners were announced. The team ranked in the Top 10 in the nation, coming in at No. 9, and also received an award for Best Outreach Program, recognizing the countless hours the teams have spent sharing their experience and helping to build rocket programs at other schools.

“They’ve been going nonstop,” said team sponsor Mark Keeton, detailing the numerous activities and opportunities the students have been involved in since the TARC competition began in January 2015. “These kids have busted their tails the entire year.”

Keeton said it’s been an amazing year for these middle school and high school students.

“I’s just been an honor to watch these kids grow. It’s unreal,” he said.

The team opted to skip the pre-made kits and built their TARC rocket from scratch this year – every piece of it – guided by mentor Tracy Burns. “They were able to make their own body tubes, their own nose cones, fins … Really the only part of that rocket they didn’t build were the cords that connected to the parachute and the casing that holds the motor,” Keeton said. The students even sewed their own parachutes.

The ninth place finish represents a score of 37, sandwiched between San Marcos High School, California, at 34.36 in eighth place and Northern Illinois Homeschool Association, Montgomery, at 39.64 in tenth place.

Following the TARC competition, RCS Engineering spent a few days in D.C., touring the National Mall and seeing national monuments, as well as visiting a spy museum and having a meet-and-greet with Congressman Robert Aderholt.

“He seemed really thrilled to see the kids,” Keeton said. “It’s been great.”

The team will take a break for the summer before jumping back into robotics and rocketry in the fall.