by ASHLEY BALBO, special to 92078 Magazine 

Knights Touch the Sky

For a school as ambitious as San Marcos High (SMHS), the sky really is the limit. The SMHS rocketry team, Houston’s Problem, has worked tirelessly through second semester to build a rocket that could launch high enough to meet national competition requirements. This year, the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) organization required rockets to reach a height of 800 feet and safely bring down two raw eggs without cracking them. Although weather conditions made it hard for the team to do their final launch on Easter weekend, they persisted and qualified for the national competition.

The final TARC launching took place on May 12, with Houston’s Problem tying with Explorer Post 1010 from Maryland for 50th place. For the past two years, the school finished in eighth place, which earned them $12,000 in scholarship money. This year, out of approximately 800 teams, 50th place is still a large accomplishment for the school. The team of four and their coach were certainly not disappointed by their attempt. Erin Fox, the team’s captain, feels “blown away that we even made it to nationals, and placing in the top 50 in the nation far surpassed any expectation that I had for this year.” Joey Mack, Gabrielle Hart, and Jason Stimeling make up the rest of the team and are equally proud. Fox, on behalf of her team, expressed how the team believes, “We ended up achieving much more than we thought we would.”

James Boehmler is the TARC advisor for SMHS and has been for the past 10 years. Rocketry can be unpredictable and very competitive, and every year, Boehmler finds himself telling his pupils, “It takes a lot of skill and a little bit of luck to qualify for nationals, but it takes a little bit of skill and a lot of luck to win.” With this in mind, the team plans on continuing into next year using these new experiences as a foundation for their future efforts.

Ashley Balbo is a junior at San Marcos High School. She is participating in an internship program with 92078 Magazine.