Prince of Peace School's Rocket Team Participated in National Finals

  • Prince of Peace's Redhawk Rocketeers launching the model rocket that they builtPrince of Peace Catholic School

    Prince of Peace's Redhawk Rocketeers launching the model rocket that they builtPrince of Peace Catholic School

Updated 6/25/2021 10:11 AM

Lake Villa, IL -- June 2021 -- Prince of Peace Catholic School, a nationally recognized Blue Ribbon school, is pleased to announce that its rocketry team, the Redhawk Rocketeers, successfully participated in the 19th annual national finals for The American Rocketry Challenge (TARC). On Saturday, June 12, The Redhawk Rocketeers launched at Bong Recreation Area in Kansasville, WI. They were among the 100 groups of finalists.

The student teams worked all year to prepare for the challenges they faced in building and launching a model rocket that carries one raw egg to two altitudes and time goals, with rocket and egg returning to the ground intact. Each team got two flights: the first goal was 775 ft within 39-42 seconds, the second was 825 ft within 41-44 seconds. Scores will be the sum of those two flights, and the team is still waiting to receive their final scores.


TARC, the world's largest student rocket contest, is the Aerospace Industry Association's flagship program that seeks to encourage middle and high school students to pursue STEM careers. Following a break last year due to the pandemic, the contest returned, offering teams a chance to win prizes ranging from $7,500 to $20,000.

Programs like TARC encourage students to hone their passions from a young age. TARC is geared toward students who have an interest in rocketry and STEM, but the skills can be applied to numerous other disciplines, including technical skills like computer simulations and software, as well as teamwork and public speaking.

Prince of Peace Catholic School's Redhawk Rocketeers was founded by Rebecca Zurek when she was a student at Prince of Peace. Over the years, the team has grown and now includes co-captain and alumnus Luka Weideman, student Brandon Czapla, student Lilly Abney and alumnus Zack Massoni, The club is open to middle school students through high school students.

Robert Zurek, an engineer, is Rebecca's father and the club's adviser. He teaches the kids to work with software used by professional companies, and "within a year or two they're computer simulating their own rocket designs, designing parts in the system, creating them on a laser printer and a laser cutter and then building these up, and then adapting their models with their test launches to meet their goals," Zurek said. The older kids then teach the younger kids, continuing the cycle.

Principal Dr. Stephanie Stoneberg added, "We are extremely proud of our Redhawk Rocketeers and all that they've learned as a result of this club. Prince of Peace Catholic School places a strong emphasis on STEM, and we are pleased to offer this opportunity to our current and past students."

To find out more about Prince of Peace Catholic School's Redhawk Rocketeers and other clubs as well as its top-rated education and comprehensive mission of Faith, Excellence and Service, contact Principal Dr. Stephanie Stoneberg at 847-356-6111 or visit In-person tours (following all safety guidelines) also are available.

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