(CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo.) — The U.S. Air Force Academy’s Space Force Detachment made their second visit to students at Cripple Creek-Victor Junior-High School on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

“We came out and provided a little bit of education on science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and a little bit of rocket building,” said U.S. Air Force Academy Lt. Col. Adam Wasinger.

The afternoon began with a presentation by the Academy’s Space Force Detachment about opportunities at the Air Force Academy and fun facts about space.

Presentation by the Academy’s Space Force Detachment

“They gave us a presentation on all the opportunities that the Air Force offers,” said Jesse Paradise, a Junior at Cripple Creek-Victor Junior-High School. “They showed us a bunch about the new Space Force, about what they do in the Space Force.”

After the presentation, students were able to show off the rockets they built and designed leading up to the launch.

“It’s so exciting to see these young men and women come out and just really get excited about not only the principles that we’re learning in the classroom but also the real-world applications,” said Lt. Col. Adam Wasinger.

Students show off their rockets before the launch

Senior student Halo Gonzales added an extra touch to the rocket by painting Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night on the rocket.

“I’ve been in this class for the second time, so we built rockets before and so I was like the one that knew most of it,” said Gonzales. “I helped other people build it and then I just needed inspiration to paint this. So I was like ‘let me do one of my favorite artists on it’.”

The property was cleared for rocket lift-off.

“We worked with the local police department, fire department, made sure everything was okay before we launched,” said Lt. Col. Adam Wasinger. “And sure enough, they flew high and it was pretty impressive.”

Annie Durham, CTE Director at Cripple Creek-Victor School District, said how excited the school district is to have the Academy’s Space Force Detachment come visit students.

“We are a small rural community, and so we are a little bit isolated,” said Durham. “So to have outside influences and opportunities like this is very inspiring for our students, and we’re very grateful for them to come up and see us.”

Students and the Academy’s Space Force Detachment stand for a photo before the launch

A junior at Cripple Creek-Victor Junior-High School, Domenic Caracciolo, explained what a cool experience the rocket launch was.

“I was pretty excited because I’ve never actually got to build one of these and launch it,” said Caracciolo. “It was actually a cool experience to actually do it myself.”

The day’s activities served to present opportunities in STEM and ignite a passion in students.

“The work that the Academy does in the Space Force is just incredibly inspiring to know… what’s possible,” said Durham. “Oftentimes just by virtue of our location, they don’t get a lot of exposure to that.”