FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield Ludlowe Rocketry Club has qualified to represent their high school at the national 2019 Team America Rocketry Challenge in Virginia.

“We are so proud to say that our team made it to the 2019 Team American Rocketry Challenge Finals. This is a huge accomplishment.” said academic advisor, Dr. Jessica Davis-Peineke. “Of 830 teams across the United States, only 100 teams qualified to compete in the Finals being held on May 17-19 in the Washington, DC area. This is the first time a team from Fairfield has made it.”

The Team America Rocketry Challenge is an annual American model rocketry competition for high school students sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry. It is the world’s largest student rocket contest and a key piece of the aerospace and defense industry’s strategy to build a stronger U.S. workforce in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Sponsored by the AIA and the NAR, the TARC was created in the fall of 2002 as a one-time celebration of the Centennial of Flight, but by popular demand became an annual program.

Nearly 5,000 students from across the nation compete each year. The contest’s rules and scoring parameters change every cycle to challenge the students’ ingenuity and encourage a fresh approach to rocket design.

Based on local qualification flights, the top 100 teams are invited to Washington, D.C. later this month for the National Finals. Top placing teams split more than $100,000 in prizes. The winning team and their coach receive an all-expenses paid trip to Paris, France to compete in the International Rocketry Challenge taking place at the Paris International Air Shows.

The Fairfield Ludlowe Rocketry Club is led by team captains, Will Allen, Yujia Feng and Rushil Mallarapu. They are mentored by rocketry expert, David Greenapple of Westport. The entire club membership has worked hard for the last two years to apply their math, science, technology and design skills toward building a winning design that finally met TARC’s tough criteria to rank among the very best high school rocket clubs in the country.

“The club would like to thank our academic advisor, Dr. Jessica Davis-Peineke,” said Ms. Feng, “for her selfless commitment to helping the club meet at least twice a week throughout the school year as well as meeting on the launch field in Durham CT on weekends to do test flights.”

“We’d also like to thank Fairfield Ludlowe faculty, Mr. Richard Strid, for helping us design and 3D-print rocket parts in his classroom,” said Mr. Allen. “Finally, we would like to thank our TARC mentor, Mr. David Greenapple, who spent countless hours with us in Dr. Davis’s classroom and out on the field doing launches in Durham and helping us meet the exacting AIA and NAS standards. We honor all your efforts in helping us make this club a reality for this year and beyond.”

The club is seeking donations to offset the cost of rocketry supplies and travel to this event. The have set up a GoFundMe page (“Fairfield Ludlowe Rocketry Club TARC Finals”) to assist in subsiding the cost of attending this prestigious competition and necessary rocketry supplies.

For more information, contact Fairfield Ludlowe Rocketry Club team representative Mike Allen at michaelmorrowallen@yahoo.com or 203-515-1267.