Dallas Area Rocket Society to assist in annual rocket launch


Grace Nguyen

A student builds her rocket in preparation for last year’s launch on Sunday, March 21st.

Caleb Stein, Staff Writer

For the third consecutive year, students can pursue their interest in rocket science and engineering with Sunday’s Lovejoy Gifted Association Rocket Launch, presented by the school and the Dallas Area Rocket Society (DARS).

“It’s always our hope that doing events like this foster a passion for learning,” district advanced academics coordinator Brie Smith said. “The rocket build and launch is a great venue for teaching students about STEM and possible career or college interests.”

The annual rocket launch is a fundraising event for the non-profit Lovejoy Gifted Association (LGA), which supports the Gifted and Talented program in all the district’s schools and  directly benefits all students.

“A significant amount of the money raised during the year from memberships and fundraisers get allocated to grants for teaching materials for classes across the district,” event coordinator and DARS member Jeroen van Rijn said.

Students built rockets on Wednesday at Sloan Creek, and on Sunday they will launch the rockets to see how they did.

“I think the event covers a range of topics that students can learn from,” van Rijn said. “It is an opportunity to do something in real life rather than through a computer simulation. It teaches basics of rocket science, which can trigger an interest in science or engineering, and since they are working with a parent or caretaker, it is a great way to learn collaboration skills.”

Along with the rocket launch, the district does many other special events to help raise funds for the school and its students.

“The experience itself is great for students, as it allows them to engage in the design process and come together with their peers, as well as benefit them in the future,” Smith said. “Other events such as Hang Time, Passion Projects, student showcases, and other LGA events do the same.”

While the DARS has been doing events like the rocket launch for multiple years, it is the first time for van Rijn to be organizing the event.

“I love seeing students and parents working together and building the rocket,” van Rijn said. “The excitement I see at launch time is hard to beat. The excitement I see on the faces of students and parents after a successful launch–that’s the best.”

The event is something that both van Rijn and Smith would recommend to anyone interested.

“It’s special to see students and parents come together for the build and great fellowship,” Smith said. “Then, they get to see their hard work come to fruition on Sunday. It’s a great event for the whole family.”