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Roycemore Celebrates Innovation: Recapping the IGNITE! Event

Tuesday, 07 Feb 2023

3…2…1… IGNITE! On Sunday, Roycemore families celebrated innovation with an out-of-this-world rocket launch event.

Head of School Chris English kicked off Roycemore’s Second Annual Innovation Event in the Multipurpose Room (MPR) by inviting all attendees to think about what innovation means to them. At Roycemore, innovation shows up in our curriculum, faculty, and school culture. From the Middle School Maker class to Upper School’s experiential learning program, January Short Term, students are introduced to cutting-edge technology and challenged to think outside the box.

After a rousing speech and a promise of snacks (Cosmic Brownies, Moon Pies, and Tang, oh my!), families headed to the Innovation Center to get started on their rocket building. After the opening of our new staircase in the fall of 2022, “Room 200” is now fire-code compliant and is already being used as a classroom. The Vision Design Team provided the community with an update on our next steps in January, which include constructing 6 distinct “zones” to make the best use of the 6,000-square-foot space. Students and parents jumped right in with their rockets, working together to create aerodynamic designs and decorate them. 

Roycemore’s Innovation Coach and STEAM teacher, Nina Rozes was on hand to help families problem-solve. Ms. Rozes, who recently won a FACTS Innovation Award, is responsible for teaching Maker class, and also collaborates with all Roycemore faculty to bring tech and innovative activities into their classrooms. During this school year alone, she’s modeled ancient theatre masks with Drama classes, helped students take a French unit test in virtual reality, and created 3D models of artifacts from civilizations that 9th graders imagined in their World Studies History class. 

When students finished up their rockets, they headed down to the MPR to create jet pack prototypes and design their own planetary buttons. These activities illuminated a different side of the event, asking students to imagine their own worlds and inventions. It was a great reminder that the spirit of innovation doesn’t have to mean super high-tech and that so many innovative products, companies, or ways of thinking were once just ideas scribbled on napkins or prototyped in cardboard.

Finally, it was launch time! Upper School science teachers Ms. Henry and Dr. Dudek served as our Mission Control in the gym, using PVC rocket launchers that the Upper School Science Club constructed. This cross-divisional project served as a learning experience for our students of all ages, as upper schoolers used the project to practice fabricating and brush up on some physics basics. Rockets soared across the gym to the delighted shouts of onlookers, students experimented with different ways to get the most height, and everyone went home inspired!

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