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Tharptown Rocketry celebrates lands National Championship Victory

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Tharptown High School Principal Tyler Berryman called it a storybook ending for rural Alabama; that a small school that had to do a lot of fundraising on its own, not only made it to the national championship but took home the top spot.

And on Tuesday, the rocketry team celebrated in front of all their friends and family.

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“It’s not it’s not a fluke that we were there. It’s not a fluke that they won. They’ve worked really, really hard for years, you know, on a foundation that was built years ago,” Berryman said.

“It feels weird. It’s so bittersweet and we’ve been working so hard. We always really wanted to win every game that we’ve actually won. We can’t even fathom. We don’t have any words,” said Jessie Mitchell, Tharptown, a senior and Rocketry team member.

After landing as the runner-up in the 2023 national competition, the Wildcats went back to the drawing board and started prepping new rocket designs and building methods for the next year.

But to even make it back to the national stage, they had to fundraise the money to go back to nationals in Washington D.C.

“We did fundraising, like we did a Mother’s Day basket, so we did it. Kids Night, and then we went to Sam’s two times live just for the people. And then we also went down to the businesses around Christmas and Franklin County and asked for donations, and a lot of them,” said Tharptown junior and rocketry team member Kylee Beard.

While a national rocketry champion has a nice ring to it, so does an international champion, which is what the Tharptown rocketry team will be chasing this summer in London.

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