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May 6, 2014 9:52 PM by Kristen Holloway

Franklin High School Senior Takes Rocket Building to the Next Level

Many high school students devote their spare time to sports, but not Tony Mclelland. The Franklin High School senior has taken his hobby of building rockets to the next level.

Inspired by the movie "October Sky", Mclelland launched a rocket in March. This secured him a special certification from Tripoli Rocketry Association, to fly what are known as high-power rockets. This high school senior is the first in Louisiana to obtain his level one high-power rocket license.

"I had to do research on the different sanding techniques; that's where I started with how to sand everything and it was just a lot of different research before I even got the chance to start," said Mclelland.

Tony spent about one year working towards this goal and about four months of actually building the sophisticated rocket. The rocket flew to an altitude of 200 feet at speeds between 400 and 500 miles per hour.

"It actually did everything I expected and more cause we couldn't find it for a while," said Mclelland. "It went up a whole lot higher than we expected it too."

"I jumped off the ground and I was screaming, everybody was going man you're more excited about this rocket than everybody else, it was awesome," said Franklin High Physics Instructor John Sorrel.

Sorrel says rocketry is an important part of the curriculum when teaching his science classes.

"Once you give them a place where they can create and use their hands to demonstrate their knowledge, it just excites them," said Sorrel.

Tony Mclelland will continue his love for rockets at UL this Fall, studying mechanical engineering.

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