Rocket club blasts off into existence


Photo by Aayushi Datta

Students from rocket club pose for a picture with paper airplanes during a friendly competition amongst themselves.

Aayushi Datta, News Editor

The rocket club is a new edition to the long list of clubs at OHS. It is a student-led club that focuses on building rockets and eventually participating at multiple state and national challenges. The club is an extension of the engineering club; the two clubs collaborated with the STEM club, and now all three clubs work together and help each other out. Although they are under the same supervision, the three clubs have their own individual goals that they work on. The main focus of the rocket club is preparing the students for state and national events. 

The club is run by its president, Caleb Bautista, junior, who was determined to start a rocket club for a very long time. He has been preparing since last year by contacting the office and filling out all paper works so that he could successfully start the rocket club. 

“I always had an interest in rocketry ever since I was maybe 11 or 12, so I have been building rockets since then and there’s a couple of nationwide challenges and state challenges that require teams,” Bautista said. “I was like maybe we can start a rocket club and teach others about rocketry. It’s for the same interest I had and maybe even start a team. So that was the main purpose [of] why I wanted to start the club.” 

The club teaches about the dynamics of rocketry at the beginning so that all the members are familiar with the process of how they work. Eventually, they will start rocket building sessions in mid-October. Once the students start building the rockets, the club is set to host their own monthly launches. They have goals that they want to achieve as a team of rocket builders. 

“Goals that I have for the club is to try and form a team for the TAR which is The American Rocketry Challenge and that’s a team of around eight [people],” Bautista said. “Apart from building rockets in the rocketry club, we will go over the history of NASA and SpaceX and rocket history in general.” 

The rocket club requires students to be very careful as it works with materials that can be dangerous, which was the main concern that the club came across while starting out. 

“Rockets can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. They involve explosives,” said Jonathan Wyllie, physics teacher. “You have to be careful. You have to know what you are doing.” 

The club holds a variety of student participants who are at different levels when it comes to their knowledge about rockets. Some students know how to build rockets while there are others who have no idea at all. This puts the club in a state of advantage as it promotes that the club welcomes anyone no matter their knowledge. 

“I am taking approaches [as] if no one were to know anything [about rockets] because even if people do know stuff it is always nice to have a refresher,” Bautista said. 

The new club is hopeful towards a brighter future. They are excited to start the club and carry it forward for the future students of the school. 

“I think it’s going to be pretty easy with the foundation that Caleb builds to just continue that on. So that the younger members that are in the club right now, they are going to be like this is the way the club should be run,” Wyllie said. “They are going to take that torch and go with it.” 

As the rocket club merged with the engineering club, changes occurred in the original club as well. They now have to adapt to another club while keeping theirs separated. The engineering club wholeheartedly welcomed the new club. 

“When I heard that the engineering club will be merging with the rocketry, it was nice to hear because I thought it would open more opportunities and open more doors for what we can do and bring in more members,” said Kevin Chang, senior, president of the Engineering Club. “There’s been [a] change in dynamics like the clubs are ‘split in two’ in a way. We just have to manage two different sections of the club and we have to figure out the scheduling of that.”

The rocket club is an open space which allows anyone to join in. It also gives them the opportunity to choose whether they want to be a part of the engineering section, STEM section, or rocketry section.

“It’s open to anyone that wants to come. Don’t be scared if it’s like a nerd club. There’s a lot of different types of people in there. It’s just really enjoyable, you can learn a lot,” said Bautista.