NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) --They call themselves the Soaring Six. They're the all-girls' rocket team out of Our Lady of Calvary School in Northeast Philadelphia.
"Girls have just the same amount of power as the guys do, and I think it's really inspiring," said team captain Korianna Rosenthal.
They're working side-by-side with the school's co-ed team in their lab dedicated to building rockets. Vying for a national title, the mission of the 7th- and 8th-graders is to build an egg-lofting rocket, capable of hitting 775 feet for a flight duration of 41 to 43 seconds. The rocket then must separate. Computer design, construction, trial and error.
"We keep running flight simulations for the flights over and over and over again, changing each little aspect from maybe the fin size, the tube length and definitely the weight," said 8th-grader and chief designer Gianna Brock.
"We also have to make sure the fins are very good, which is why I am in charge of making the fins," said construction specialist Ilinca Vilceanu.
At the helm of the Rocketry Program is Director Greg Severino. The students started building rockets in 6th grade, then the Soaring Six took first place in their first official state competition last year, and are now gearing up for nationals. Severino sees this program as a tremendous educational opportunity.
"It's an authentic STEM education and it elicits an awe factor in them, and that awe factor translates into their learning," said Severino.
The students are working on their qualifying flights - the top 100 teams make it to nationals in May.
Their competition will include high schoolers from around the country. They've faced older teams before and remain undaunted.
"We went up against high school teams who honestly did not believe we were going to win this - and we did," said Brock.
"If you want to do something. Aspire to do it and you can do it," she added.
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