The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

April 22, 2010

Ss. John & Paul students preparing for rocket launch


Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — They’re back! The Ss. John and Paul students who were lucky enough to go to Spain March 25 through April 3 have returned with an amazing story to tell. Juniors Jillian Pope, Chase Fleckenstein, Peyton Longden and senior Mikenzie Zullo, along with family and Spanish teacher Erin Adame, have finished their 10-day journey across southern Spain where they toured the cities of Madrid, Seville, Toledo and Granada where they went on a day trip to Morocco.

“The flight there was when I really got excited because reality was setting in,” said Pope. “The whole trip was memorable, but my three favorite parts were the Gypsy Caves, Morocco and The Alhambra. The camels were cool but scary! I learned a lot of history and Morocco really opened my eyes and made me appreciate a lot more.”

While in Spain, the students immersed themselves in the culture as well as the language.

Zullo shared her experience with Spanish dancing in Granada. “One of my favorite things we did was seeing the Gypsies dance,” Zullo said. “It was so cool to watch and we even got castanets, the things that were on their hands when they danced.”

She was excited to see a traditional Spanish bullring in Seville. “The bullring was really cool because the season had just started that Sunday so they were preparing for the first bullfight of the season,” said Zullo.

In the world of science at SSJP, the high school students at Ss. John and Paul will be constructing and setting off their own rockets over the next couple of weeks as a hands-on lab experiment. Students in physical science, chemistry and physics will all be participating in this experiment.

Michael Burich, the chemistry and physics teacher at the high school, wrote for a grant to the Ashtabula Community Advisory Panel to obtain the money needed to buy the rockets. The money received from the grant bought the classes a package that had a launching system as well as a rocket that tells the maximum speed the rocket reaches as it is launched upward. The science classes will be focusing on velocity, acceleration and displacement by calculating how high the rockets go by using triangulation and trigonometry.

The experiment will be conducted within the next couple of weeks when the weather is satisfactory. The teachers are looking for a day without a lot of wind so that the students are able to recover the rockets and reuse them. The classes, however, have already started constructing their rockets.

“I enjoyed working together with everyone,” said junior Jenna Wayman. “It was fun assembling them because we started out with just a bunch of little pieces and it all came together in the end. I’m excited to paint and decorate them too.”

Melissa Rebera, also a junior at SSJP, was enthusiastic about the bonding experience between the classes while they helped each other build the rockets and was also looking forward to everyone being together while they launched the rockets.