Blasting into new territory

Dylan Hansen

Recently Mr. Slavish and Mrs. Hartmann were recently denied an aerospace grant. Within this article is a look inside what they were planning to do, and still would like to do. They both fully intend to pursue other grants and financial means to reach these goals.  

A grant is a sum of money given by an organization especially a government for a particular purpose. For Engineering and Math teacher Jordan Slavish and Science teacher Brittany Hartmann that purpose is to fund not only the rocketry program, but drones and the construction of a home for a telescope that was recently donated. In turn creating a holistic Aerospace program that has Astronomy, Rockets, and Drones.

The program could be thought of as a “three legged stool.” According to Mr. Slavish that is meant to not only create a program(telescope), but elevate the level of the existing two(drones and rocketry) programs. In an ideal world, improvements would be made simultaneously in all three programs. This would look like implementation of a four year rocketry program, drones being able to work side by side with the Agriculture department to provide a service to the community, while a giant telescope that is mounted on a 15 foot trailer was donated under the stipulation that a permanent building be erected for it.

“There is still a lot of discussion in regards of how to best use this piece of technology” Slavish wrote in an email when talking about the focus of the telescope project. As far as this project goes the only thing for certain is that it needs a permanent fixture. However, Hartmann and Slavish show a great deal of enthusiasm, Hartmann especially with her limited background in astrology from college courses.

Drones is working towards making a name in the community and incorporating the agriculture side of things with intentions of working with the Agriculture program here at YC. With one drone built and actually surveying land, the hope is to turn it into more a business and continue this sort of work. However, that is not all that’s in store for drones. There is a plan teach students about what actual flight training looks and feels like. The goal of this would be to provide basic training and real world insight into this new and exciting profession.

Although the existence of this class is already impressive, rocketry is looking at blasting off into an entirely new airspace. With the recent adoption of systems go curriculum from Texas, the goal would be to start a four year program that starts with an introduction to engineering for freshman. This program would end on year four with the design and launch of a rocket that would break the sound barrier. It doesn’t have to stop their either, with a fifth year program being in the curriculum students would be able to launch rockets carrying 35lb payloads that would be going between 80,000 and 100,000 feet and would require military authorization.

As many YC students already know, Rocketry is co-taught by Hartmann and Slavish. Uniquely, this teaching strategy has been effective for two reasons; first and foremost the energies and operating principles that both teachers bring to the table. According to Mrs. Hartman, Slavish brings “TONS of excitement, outside connections, and current events into the classroom”. This is complimented by Hartmann’s logistics and organization. Moreover, the two have both commented on how fun the planning and project management part of engineering is to not only do, but teach the students each and every day.  

As two very busy people Hartmann and Slavish have to find a motivator outside of blowing things up with their high school students. Slavish cites his motivation “is to change the hearts and minds of all of the people that have counted YC (and all of the other small schools out there) out over the years for being a small school, and to show my students the freedom they actually have.” He feels that because of this small school advantage YC could very easily be setting the gold standard for aerospace education in Oregon.

Similarly, Hartmann values the ability to learn as things progress but more importantly the “opportunity to let go of the class and let the kids find answers on their own”. She cited this as learning to let go of the control and let the kids learn for themselves. A way for them to launch in their own directions.