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ARTICLE: TARC Sponsor Shella Condino Honored with WIA’s Aerospace Educator Award


Attracting young students to a career in aerospace is critical to the future of our business; the hurdle of convincing young men and women to study the demanding subjects, like engineering, demands teachers endowed with talents of inspiration, creativity and intellectual energy. Add to those challenges a student body in which English as a second language is a common course and the demographics of the area do not easily support expensive extracurricular activities, you have defined a virtually impossible test.

Those parameters did not stop Shella Condino from turning her school, Presidio High School of South Texas, into the home of one of the nation’s top rocketry model programs. She was hired to teach Physics, Chemistry and Scientific Research and Design. Recognizing that additional motivation was necessary to capture her students’ attention and to motivate them to command the difficult subjects which she teaches, the young woman created a summer enrichment program centered on model rocketry that has grown into the highly successful rocketry program. Under her guidance, the Blue Devils entered the highly competitive national Team America Rocketry Challenge competition and has placed well against schools with many more resources. That success has led to the school’s submission of three research proposals for NASA’a Student Launch Initiative Advanced Rocketry Program and being invited to launch some of the Presidio rockets at the Marshall Space Flight Center.

The Condino initiative was cited by the President at the White House Science Fair and was the subject of a national feature story aired on CBS Evening News.

Women in Aviation are recognizing this gifted teacher with its Aerospace Educator Award.

Goddard’s and Van Braun’s rockets led to lifting man to the moon; Shella Condino’s rockets are lifting her students to higher achievements!! It’s not clear which payload may have greater returns in the long term.

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