STARBASE helps launch students’ interest in science, math


BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Fifth graders in Brunswick County had an experience today that was truly out of this world. It’s called STARBASE a program that’s enforcing math and science into young minds across North Carolina and the country in an explosive way.

As kids, many of us dreamed about becoming an astronaut when we got older. This week a lot of Virginia Williamson Elementary School students are getting a chance to go up in space by launching rockets.

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Friday is the grand finale to the week-long STARBASE program at VWES. It’s an initiative funded by the US Department of Defense to get young minds interested in math and science and into the engineering field.

“It’s more than just launching rockets,” said Tom Simmons, Deputy Director of STARBASE at Fort Fisher. “This week they studied chemistry, they’ve studied physics, they’ve studied properties of air, states of matter.”

All of that training comes in the classroom in the four days leading up to Friday. But this was the day that put the learning into motion.

After some assembly and a few final touches, the fifth graders got to launch their learning into the sky.

“I was nervous to do mine,” student Kaytlin Lake said. “I was scared that my parachute wasn’t going to come out.”

As the dozens of rockets flew into the blue sky it was clear from the children’s faces what makes this program special.

“We just want kids at this early age to find out that math and science and physics can be fun,” Simmons said.

And what’s not fun about shooting off a few rockets?

“I would definitely say it’s not a normal day for a fifth grader. It’s been really fun,” Lake said.

Classmate Elijah Holden agreed.

“It was awesome!” he said.

The STARBASE program was founded in 1989 and has been active across the country ever since. If you’re interested in contacting the local branch for a visit to your school, visit