Presidio, Texas, Rocketry Teacher Gets Green Card

Two years ago, Shella Condino, a Texas teacher known for using rocketry to inspire and educate, received a letter from the US Immigrations Service saying, “You are not authorized to remain in the United States and to depart as soon as possible.”

A Texas congressman investigated and learned that the letter had been sent by mistake. Shella Condino now has a “Green Card” and continues to inspire her students in Presidio, Texas. Earlier this year, she once again, lead a team of kids to the Team America Rocketry Challenge finals. The team finished fourth over all in the nationwide competition.

Jose Galindo, Lizzbeth Jordan, and Marissa Gray

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For Texas rocketry club and their inspirational teacher, the sky is just the beginning

“Where the Rio Grande and the Rio Conchos meet in west Texas is believed to be the oldest continuously-cultivated land in America. But the most precious crop you’ll find there today is dreams ….”

Team America Rocketry Challenge Featured at White House Science Fair

Each year, about 7,000 students from middle and high schools across the nation compete in the Team America Rocketry Challenge. Each team designs, builds, flies, and tests a model rocket that must reach a specific altitude and duration as determined by a set of rules which change each year. Teams make test flights to qualify for the finals which are held each May in Washington. DC. The top 100 teams are invited to the national finals which awards prizes including $60,000 in cash and scholarships split between the top ten finishers.

Teams of students from Presidio, Texas, have made it to the TARC finals in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Although Presidio is one of the poorest areas in Texas, teachers and the community came together to help the students make the trips to Washington. And, in February of 2012, members of the Presidio High School Rocketry Team made another trip to Washington. They attended the

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Team America Rocketry Challenge

Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) is an annual rocketry competition for students in grades 7 through 12. Sponsored primarily by the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) and the Aerospace Industries Association, TARC is designed to encourage students to study math and science and pursue careers in aerospace.

TARC is open to teams from schools or non-profit organizations. Each year’s competition is limited to 750 teams. The teams build and fly rockets designed to meet specific requirements and goals which are different each year. As an example, in 2011, teams had to design, build, and demonstrate a model rocket that carried a raw egg to an altitude as close to 750 feet as possible and stayed airborne for between 40 and 45 seconds using only a single 15-inch diameter parachute as the recovery system.

Each team makes qualifying flights and a score is computed based on how close the rocket meets the contest’s goals. The teams

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