COSROCS Education Director Receives Award

Colorado Springs resident Dr. Warren Layfield traveled to Coalwood, West Virginia last week for the annual October Sky Festival, where he was reunited with his former boss and famous author, Homer Hickam (Rocket Boys, October Sky, The Dinosaur Hunter). Dr. Layfield received an award from Mr. Hickam for his work with the "Reach for the Stars" rocket contest.

The certificate is inscribed with the Christa McAuliffe quote, "I Touch the Future — I Teach."

Dr. Layfield is the education director for Colorado Springs Rocket Society (COSROCS), which
is the National Association of Rocketry's (
NAR) Section #515. Homer Hickam worked for many years at NASA, and was Dr. Layfield's supervisor while he served as an engineer during development of the shuttle for NASA. Another teacher, Sam Crupi, from Orlando, Florida also received recognition. Crupi is the vice president of Rocketry of Orlando's Community Kids (ROCK). Both Dr. Layfield and Mr. Crupi launched rockets from "Cape Coalwood" as part of the October Sky festival.

Fifteen-year-old high school student Danielle Pate won the national "Reach for the Stars" rocket contest. Danielle is from Lake Butler, Florida. The annual contest promotes the "Helping Kids Reach for the Stars" program - an educational outreach of the 47 Christa McAuliffe / Challenger Learning Centers, most of which are in the United States. Challenger Learning Center of Colorado is located at Challenger Middle School, 10215 Lexington Drive, and COSROCS has model rocket launches there on the fourth Saturday of each month, year around, from the school parking lot.

Youth contests like Team America Rocketry Challenge and Reach for the Stars are getting young women involved in science, technology, engineering, and math. Rocketry was once a male-dominated field, but that is changing. Local contests were held during which students flew a rocket, the winners landing closest to a target. Danielle celebrated her success at the October Sky Festival by launching from "Cape Coalwood.", where the original rocket boys launched rockets in the 1950s as depicted in the book "Rocket Boys" and the movie "October Sky".

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Comment by Bob Stephens on October 21, 2010 at 5:56pm
Congrats to Dr. Layfield! This story will appear in next week's Briargate Fresh*Ink paper. Thanks for posting it, Jeff.
Comment by Katy Booth on October 12, 2010 at 12:35pm
This is a great story -- thanks, Jeff!


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