October 13, 2015
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St. Rose cloud gazers win NASA recognition
Tom Burke
CLOUD PROUD: The sixth grade science class at St. Rose of Lima is to be honored with a certificate from NASA, as they came in third place in NASA’s “Students’ Cloud Observations On-Line” worldwide project, which requires students to establish the “ground truth” when the Terra satellite passes overhead. Here, Russell White, Jack McMahon and Cameron Toussaint make observations.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently recognized all 21 students of St. Rose of Lima’s sixth grade science class for their reporting accuracy during October, as the students have been participating in NASA’s S'COOL Project, which stands for “Students’ Cloud Observations On-Line.”

Their accurate observations earned them third place in the worldwide project. At least 3,500 schools from 80 other countries take part in the project.

The project, which supports NASA’s research of the Earth’s climate, requires the children to establish the “ground truth” when the Terra satellite passes overhead. The students’ cloud reports are emailed to NASA, where they are compared to the satellite's findings. These two observations are then compared to help evaluate how well the satellite’s instruments are working.

The students began participating Oct. 1 and have been reporting their findings each day. Their teacher, Tom Burke, handles the duty on weekends and emails the information to NASA each day at about 4 p.m.

“They did a good job and we had some great weather for it with the hurricane and the nor’easter,” said Burke, He said the children will receive a certificate from NASA for their accomplishment.

“We followed the storms coming in,” said Caleb Davenport, 11. “The clouds were darker than they would usually be.”

The students, including Jessica Gilman, 11, Kaleigh Sisson, 11, Chandler Harkins, 12, and Adrianna Pacheco, 11, said they love working with NASA.

“There are schools around the world doing it and it’s really awesome that we are one of them,” Pacheco said.

Some students, such as Joseph Melucci, 11, and Derek Razza, 12, think it’s “really cool” that they are number three in the world, while others are thrilled to be learning about all 12 types of clouds, plus the fact that the levels and shades of clouds allow people to detect whether or not rain is on the way.

“I like how we get to find out on our own which cloud is which,” said Cameron Toussaint, 11, while Gabrielle Silvio, 11, said, “We know how high some clouds form and how low other clouds form and what kind of weather the clouds bring.”

Julia Frenze, 11, and James Scotti, 11, both enjoy that they are able to go outside to learn more about the weather, and Kyle Buchanan, 12, summed it up best when he said, “We’re learning while we’re having fun doing something with NASA.”

Principal Jeannine Fuller praised Burke for coming up with the idea to get the children involved with the project. Of course, she also praised the students.

“They are doing some great work,” she said. “We’re proud of them.”

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