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Team America Rocketry Challenge Crowns New Champion

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates pushes the button to launch a test rocket for the Madison, Wisconsin Rocket Club during the Team America Rocketry Challenge in Plains, Va., May 19, 2004. The TARC, in its fifth year, is a nationwide competition designed to encourage students to study math and science in middle and high school. Defense Dept. photo by Cherie A. Thurlby
by Staff Writers
The Plains VA (SPX) May 21, 2007
A team from Newark (California) Memorial High School won the Team America Rocketry Challenge Saturday, beating out 99 other squads with a near-perfect score. team, which consists of Ramon Arias, Anthony Camarra, Donny Evans, Matthew Jacuzzi, and Emily Thym, came one foot shy of the altitude goal of 850 feet. The rocket was also .86 of a second from the perfect time aloft mark of 45 seconds.

"I had a feeling we were going to do well, but I didn't think we were going to get first," Camarra said, adding that the team placed 11th in last year's contest.

Madison (Wisconsin) West High School Team 2 came in second, and W.G. Enloe High School in Raleigh, N.C. ended up in third.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who presented the first-place trophy, told the participants the contest is an excellent start to a journey that can take them as far as their aspirations will lead them.

"You've taken your first step," Gates said. "Now keep going."

Newark Memorial shares more than $60,000 in scholarships and other prizes with other top finishers. Additionally, the winners will travel to the International Paris Air Show in June thanks to a prize provided by Raytheon. The earnings include $5,000 in scholarship money for each of the top three teams, a special donation by Lockheed Martin.

AIA President and CEO John Douglass said the event once again shows the promise of a new generation of potential aerospace workers.

"If the results of this contest are any indication, the future of aerospace is in good hands," Douglass said. "The winners should be pleased with their achievement, but every member of every team should be proud of what they have accomplished."

It was the fifth year of TARC, which AIA runs along with the National Association of Rocketry. The Defense Department, NASA, the American Association of Physics Teachers and 38 AIA member companies sponsored the event.

Approximately 600 students on the 100 final teams took part in the competition, in which they tried to get as close as possible to a launch of 850 feet and a duration of 45 seconds. A total of about 7,000 students on 690 teams participated in the qualifying rounds. Since the contest started in 2003, about 40,000 students have taken part.

Last year a team from Statesville (North Carolina) Christian School took top honors.

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