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By Alexa D'Amato

  After receiving a $400 grant from the Central Massachusetts Association for Spacemodeling (CMASS), the Rocketry Club is looking forward to the spring.

  CMASS is a society for people in New England with an interest in building and launching model rockets, essentially a professional Rocket Club. The organization provides a space for anyone who enjoys rocketry and engineering to pursue their passion alongside peers who enjoy the same things.

  The institution created the Bill Spadafora Memorial Fund in honor of the former president, who the fund is named after. Spadafora was the president of CMASS for over 20 years and a key official at the National Association of Rocketry, as well as many more important rocketry positions. The fund was created to promote rocketry by funding local Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) teams and student teams involved in rocketry. 

  Two awards were available, a $400 and a $200 grant, and the Masco Rocketry Club was grateful to receive the $400 one.

  “I was really happy to hear that we did get it, and everyone in the club was really happy too, because that means that we can now expand our goals and don't have to be shackled down by costs,” said Rocketry Club advisor Ryan Quadros. “It actually opens up a lot of paths for us, and we're able to buy a lot of equipment that we otherwise couldn't get. It was amazing.”

  The club members are all grateful for the opportunities given to them by the grant.

  “The CMASS grant is a great opportunity for us to take the club to the next level and give us more hope for the future of the club,” said club president junior Dorian Florestal.

  The club spends the winter months building their own rockets, as they can’t launch when there’s snow on the ground. They plan to build rockets when the weather is bad and waste no time in the spring, when they have the most time to launch rockets.

  “Winter is kind of like a hibernation period in rocketry, where [we] launch in the spring, summer, and the fall. In the winter, when there's snow or when it's just really nasty or cold out, we build rockets,” said Quadros. “That way when the spring comes around, we're not spending time building, we're spending time outside launching.”

  The members have many plans for the next season.

  “In the spring, we will take advantage of the good weather to have many more launches and our first club-wide competition,” said Florestal.

  The club is excited for the competition, as the members are a close-knit group of people.

  “My personal favorite part of rocket club is the community I'm with. I enjoy how hands-on the club is and the time I'm spending with my friends within the club,” said sophomore John Gomatos. “You'll find yourself making new friends each year just by joining the club because of how closely knit the community is. Everyone is treated as an equal and we are made to feel at home within the club.”

  The group’s enthusiasm has led to a unique environment for those interested in space, STEM, engineering, and so much more.

  “I certainly enjoy it and the kids are getting a lot out of it too. They’re meeting new friends and building something that can go faster than a jet plane and higher than small airplanes,” said Quadros.