Don’t worry, the lizard survived

Published 9:28 am Wednesday, April 19, 2017

To this day, I still remember building model rockets in Coach McClammy’s seventh-grade science class.

Balsa wood was everywhere, directions half read, things glued to desks that had nothing to do with the rockets and random decals that found themselves inside textbooks rather than on the sides of the rocket.

I recall the small rocket engines, the igniters, the thrills of seeing that first rocket lift off and come back somewhat gracefully.

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Later that school year, we had the chance to purchase additional rockets, build them and again send them upward.

My second build was far better than the first and the flight of the second rocket far more thrilling.

Upon launch this rocket had far different plans than the first.

Once fired, the rocket lifted off and after about 20 feet took a hard right and made its way through the middle of the second-graders, who were outside enjoying their field day on a nearby field.

Let us just say the sack race had an added degree of difficulty that day.

During that summer, a good friend and I spent the off months from school buying and building more rockets. Most of them ended up in a nearby pecan orchard near my house.

We tinkered with designs, parachutes, placing a helpless lizard in a small cargo bay (he survived, scared but alive) and had fun placing engines in rockets that were far larger than recommended.

So you can imagine my thrill when I went to the living room on Easter morning to see that the Easter Bunny had brought model rockets, engines, igniters, a launcher and launching pad for the children of the house — including yours truly.

A red rocket was left in Fin’s basket, a yellow one in Sarah Cameron’s and a green one for Clayton.

We are planning on building the rockets Sunday and then are planning for a launch date in the coming weeks.

With all the development today of science, technology, engineering and math programs (or STEM) in education today, along with robotics programs, you see the excitement of real-world applications for math and science.

You see children making things, using the principles they have learned, and putting theories to the test.

Coach McClammy’s seventh-grade science class was long before STEM and robotics teams, but for a few months, my friend Tracey and I had thoughts of a future at NASA.

The only thing we needed to shoot for the stars was balsa wood, glue, a plastic parachute, a fearless lizard and a lot of imagination.

Tim Reeves is publisher of The Vicksburg Post. His email address is

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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