Freshman Clare Kale grinned as she found out her team was headed to a national rocket-building competition.

Clare, the captain of the J-E-T-S team at All Saints’ Episcopal School, was nervous. But now she oozes confidence as her team packs up and goes to the American Rocketry Challenge on May 20 in Virginia.

“I’m so excited to go back, and I hope we have the same success as we did last year,” she said. 

J-E-T-S will be competing for the second time in the national competition. The American Rocketry Challenge gives middle- and high-school students the opportunity to design, build and launch model rockets to compete as national champions. 

The rocket team from Brewer High School in White Settlement ISD will compete in the national competition, too. 

The teams will compete against 100 national finalists for an all-expense paid trip to the International Rocketry Challenge in Paris. Last year, All Saints’ eighth-grade team competed and won third place in the national competition. 

All Saints’ team sponsor Monica Hartman, an eighth-grade algebra and geometry teacher, is proud of her students qualifying two years in a row. Seeing her former eighth-grade team continue to improve is fulfilling, Hartman said. 

“They’ve had a blast and learned so much of what goes into rocketry,” she said. “Coming together as a team and building the rocket together is what made it fun.” 

Andrew Condors volunteers with the J-E-T-S every Thursday to help the students construct the rocket. He also is part of an organization called the National Association of Rocketry, one of the sponsors for the competition. 

Condors has flown small and large rockets for over 50 years and worked with the team for three years, he said. When he and the team members prepare for competition, they take at least two months to construct, fly and modify the rocket. 

The team’s progress makes Condors confident about the students’ chances of winning, he said. 

“They are a unique group of kids who are competitive and focused on what they do,” Condors said. 

Clare and her team sent their rocket to Virginia last week. She can’t wait to see the rocket fly and meet the other students at the competition. 

This experience helped her decide to pursue a career in engineering and hopes the team’s success continues throughout her high school years, she said. 

Taylor Coit is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Taylor Coit

Taylor Coit is a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Arlington with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She worked as a reporter and editor for The Shorthorn, UT-Arlington’s student publication...