TARC Club Shoots for the Stars


Wesley Schulz

After a two-hour van ride to get to the Sabino family’s ranch club members were a bit exhausted but very excited. Their exhaustion soon faded when they crested the hill to the launch site. Their eyes were met with an impossibly serene landscape — the grass that was covering the valley was a verdant green, cut down the middle by a 20-foot gorge. The sky was a bright blue after days of rain with little splotches of white clouds. This was the scene that greeted the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) team as they launched their rockets.

The club consists of 19 members, split into two rocket teams. Kai Nakamura ‘20 and Sherlock Jian ‘20 co-lead the club.

Math instructor Dan Ary is the club’s faculty advisor. The club is a relatively new one, having just start- ed last year by a collaborative effort of Sherlock and Ary.

“To mention anyone who really came up with the idea I’d probably have to say, Sherlock. He was interested, and talked Kai into it.”

Ary feels adamant about students doing the majority of the work and sees himself as rather a voice of wisdom than a teacher in the club.

Another adult presence in the club is Mike Swanson, an employee of Lockheed Martin and the resident aeronautics expert guiding the group.

In regards to his dedication to the team, Ary said, “He’s been incredibly nice to us. He’s always there and never late. He’s always been positive. We actually owe a lot of the fact were successful to him”

But the club is more than just a meeting place for students and adults to talk about aeronautics, they’re striving to achieve a goal.

Kai expressed his goal for the TARC Club this year; “Our goal is to try to qualify for the national compe- tition,” which is an understandably difficult goal to achieve when one understands the odds.

Last year, more than 5,000 clubs participated in the competition from around the country, and with up to $20,000 on the line, it’s no wonder kids are so interested in this pro- gram.

But for Ary, the award of the com- petition is only a secondary matter, the real prize he said, was getting kids interested in STEM programs.