Third time’s a charm for New Site rocket team

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

HILLS CHAPEL – About 500 students at Hills Chapel School watched five rockets fire into a sunny Thursday afternoon sky as the New Site Rocket Team gave a demonstration of its work.
Watching the rocket show was part of a pep rally for the kindergarten to eighth-grade students as they take part in state testing.
Two Hills Chapel students – Camrie Mayo of New Site, a seventh-grader, and Alli Moooney of Hills Chapel, eighth grade – were selected to fire two of the rockets, an honor they earned for achieving the highest scores on the practice MCT tests, said Principal Nickey Marshall.
The six members of the rocket team are testing their metal as they prepare to travel to the Washington area in two weeks for the national Team America Rocketry Challenge. It is an honor New Site teams have earned for three consecutive years, and this year they are the only Mississippi team to make the cut for nationals.
“This team had the best qualifying score of any team I’ve ever had,” said team adviser and physics teacher Ester Potts. “At the beginning of the year they wanted to have last year’s team come and give them some pointers, but I said, ‘No, you can do it.’ Now they can take pride in the fact that they did it on their own.”
The competition changes the flight requirements each year. For 2011’s challenge, the team is required to launch a cardboard rocket carrying a raw egg, lying horizontally in the rocket, to a height of 750 feet, with the flight lasting 45 seconds. The rocket must land with the egg unbroken using a 15-inch parachute.
The students are developing a Facebook page and Twitter account so that friends and family can track them in real time while they’re at the competition May 14-15.
“The kids got a lot of engineering experience with this project,” Potts said. “We have a simulator program that was never quite right, so they tweaked it and tweaked it until now the actual flights match the simulator.”

Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or

To help the team
– To help with expenses of the Team America Rocketry Challenge trip to Manassas, Va., on May 14-15, contact New Site High School physics teacher Ester Potts by email at

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