When Tigers Fly: Senior Design and Rocket Launches

Hannah Osmann, Co-Editor in Chief

The sun is high in the sky, and while most students are in class working, senior design students are hard at work both in class and outside, trying to perfect their rockets. 


Senior design is an engineering class in which seniors from Erie High School can get together in groups and participate in engineering projects, which often span from the beginning of the school year to the end. There students have the freedom to work in an environment which is similar to what many of them will later face in their professional careers as engineers. Zachary Ruschak, a senior in senior design says, “It’s pretty similar, the way our teachers have structured it. Actually they’re directly copying what engineering firms do in order to prepare us.” 


Students also experience competing against colleges and professional groups in the competitions that they do. But despite going against higher levels, Erie High School senior design students have triumphed. In one tournament, before they were disqualified for unexpected reasons, a group had found themselves competing with adults and professionals alike. “We were the only high school team. Everyone else was college teams and engineering firms.” Ruschak says. 


Many teams this year have chosen to do a competition called TARC, which is a rocket competition that consists of a few Colorado teams from across the state. “There are specific sizes your rocket has to be, it can’t be too light, too heavy, too long or too short.” Spencer Blalock, a senior in the class says. 


As many trials as there are, errors come as well. Despite struggles found throughout this year teams still persist, with hopes for the future. “We’ve had two catastrophic failures which resulted in the bottom half of our rocket being completely destroyed, the other was a couple of weeks ago when our rockets was destroyed completely. [We’re] just trying to keep our eyes on qualifying for nationals.” Blalock says. 


As the Erie High School TARC teams gear up for nationals which are in May, class remains busy, in anticipation for the competitive future ahead

From Erie High School Website