Update from Congressman Pete Gallego

Anything is Possible with Determination, Commitment and Perseverance 

Over the weekend, something impressive happened at Great Meadows in The Plains, Virginia – a field located 50 miles west of Washington, D.C.

Three teams from Presidio High School competed in the 12th annual Team America Rocketry Challenge –  the largest rocket contest in the world. At the end of the competition, Presidio High School, located in a town with a population of 5,106 people, walked away with a 4th place win and $3,000.

For the past several years, these students have been launching rockets in West Texas. Every time they’ve participated in the competition, their scores have improved. They’ve gone from 10th place to 4th place.

It took a big effort from many, including the student’s parents and sponsors, but a small town in West Texas is well represented in rocketry at the national level.

Presidio students were able to work in a group or individually and had to build and test rockets following criteria on weight, length of rocket, altitude and time. In addition, they had to provide safe passage for two eggs inside the rocket to simulate astronauts. If the eggs broke on landing, or during any phase of the launch, they were disqualified. Pretty intense. But these kids managed to get it done.
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are clearly the future of our country.
Presently, young boys and girls throughout the country are learning about these critical subjects so they can become physicists, computer scientists, engineers and statisticians.

Presidio kids woke up early, went to bed late, worked over and over on their rockets, traveled numerous hours on an airplane, metro and car to get to Washington, D.C. At the end, it was all worth it. It’s a matter of time, I think, before these bright minds take 1st place and represent the U.S. at the international level.

The boys and girls representing Presidio High School in the rocketry competition came from all walks of life and various ethnic backgrounds – Hispanic, African American, Asian, and Caucasian – representative of our country today. Some spoke English, others only spoke Spanish, but all had one goal: winning. And they left with a big smile and as winners ready for next year.

Their sponsors, Shella Condino, an AP Physics teacher at Presidio High School; her husband, Darwin Condino, a staff member at Presidio Independent School District, and Adelina Portillo, an English as a Second Language teacher at Presidio High School, were crucial in getting the students to our nation’s capital.

They helped students prepare for the contest. To them, we owe a big thank you for their work and dedication to the school and teams.

West Texas is known for many things. In great part, thanks to people like Shella Condino, it’s about to be known for rocketry.

Who would’ve thought that kids from the most isolated region in far West Texas would be leading the way to the last frontier of space? In this country, anything is possible.

U.S. Representative Pete P. Gallego, D-Alpine, represents the 23rd District of Texas, which includes all or parts of 29 counties in southwest Texas, stretching from San Antonio to El Paso. He serves on the House Armed Services and House Agriculture Committees.


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