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Johnson County Middle School Rocket and Astronomy Club Archieves

The Johnson County Middle School Rocket and Astronomy Club has roots that extend beyond the history of the school.

Mr. Danny K. Blevins first organized a model rocket club at Porter Elementary around 1991. The club was a great success. The membership usually ran around one hundred students each year. Each year the club held a rocket launching and large crowds attended, students and adults alike. The rocket club continued to thrive until Mr. Blevins was transferred to the Johnson County Middle School when it opened for the 1994-95 school year.

Mr. Blevins established the Johnson County Middle School Rocket Club, along with cosponser, Mr. Mark Woofter. The two continued to manage the club for three years. During the 1997-98 school year, Mr. Woofter organized another club and Mr. Mike Burchett joined the club as a new sponsor. Mr. Burchett has a strong background in astronomy, so the club became a rocket and astronomy club. Burchett, Woofter and Blevins held an astronomy gathering at Paintsville Lake State Park during the 1996-97 school year. The event allowed students and the general public to view a lunar eclipse the planets Jupiter and Saturn. A crowd of about 300 participated ranging from toddlers to grandparents.

During the 1997-98 school year the club received a 12.5 inch Dobsonian telescope. This instrument is the "Flagship" of the club's telescopes. This telescope will be used for deep sky observations and photography.

Also, during the 1997-98 school year the club hosted an evening lecture with Dr. Capp D. Yess. Dr. Yess is a cosmologist on the faculty of Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky. The topic of his lecture was "THE FATE OF THE UNIVERSE" (A comparison of the various hypotheses and theories dealing with the implications of an open universe vs. a closed universe.).

A weather spotter training course was held on April 28, 1998. The training was conducted by Mr. Shawn Harley of the National Weather Service in Jackson,Kentucky. Several new weather spotters were trained that night.