Rockettech Blog

By the members and director of Rockettech

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Last week, myself Mr. Suter and Tyler Boes traveled to Columbus for the annual Ohio Education Technology Conference.  On Feburary 12th, we had our own session and presented Rockettech to educators around the state. Immediately after our presentation we were approached by various amount of businesses throughout Ohio that wanted to partner with us or even simply ask for our advice. But before we got all professional-like, we stood in front of some 1,500 people to have a first-time-rap-battle on the OETC Keynote stage.
After we all nailed it, Rockettech took over the #OETC15 tag on twitter for a good 10 minutes.  Although it sounds like a fun and light-hearted trip, the three of us walked away from the 2015 conference with a deeper understand of what exactly we, as a club, were capable of.  We were completely validated by many people, including Yong Zhao, who took special interest in our club during his keynote presentation.

Because the students had been working hard for two years, Rockettch paid for all expenses of the trip. From the hotel rooms to restaurant checks we racked up past 150$...(yumm) We learned that hard work DOES in fact pay off, people!.

It was quite the great experience over all.  It was awesome publicity, a good change in perspective, but most of all it was educational fun...

Original author: Sarah Baumgartner
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4 Critical Elements to an Entrepreneurial School Club


In partnership with researchers at foundry10 in Seattle, we've been trying to identify certain elements that without them, the whole Rockettech program would fall apart. We've had the pleasure of hosting them for a visit in October, 2014.


We've refined the list to four elements critical to our success:



Employees take less risk and try to just protect their own jobs when they don't feel safe (see Simon Sinek's Ted Talk). My employees are students whom I encourage to take chances. They dive into projects fearless because they know I back them up.


This is a mutual trust as well. I have to know a student well enough to trust that when I give them a project, they will do everything in their power to succeed. These are the ones whose actions say "How else can I solve this? What other resources can I use to get this done faster/more professional?" rather than "Meh, that's good enough". This trust develops from how any given student handles previous, lower stakes assignments and directions. Grades from their other classes are not a major influence on this trust.


Technical skill

Adobe Certified EducatorIn order for me to expect so much professionalism and quality from my students, they need to see it modeled elsewhere. Initially, that's just me. I know how to make nice websites and videos, and have had enough experience that I'm comfortable identifying a student's skill level in order to scaffold their experience. 


Tenacity of a small business


Having grown up in a family that runs a small business (Suter's Produce, retail farm markets with sweetcorn, strawberries, and an 1888 cider press. Drone video from fall 2014 busy day)Suter's Corn Maze 2014, I've gotten to see my older brother and parents relentlessly innovate for growth. In 1999, when dad said "We're going to cut down half of the corn stalks to make paths, and people will pay money to walk through them", corn mazes weren't popular yet, and I thought he'd finally lost his mind. 15 years later the maze is a hit, and expanding every year.

The tenacity we need is not only the the hunger and risk-taking, but also the perseverance to bounce back from failures. Things go wrong, and we expect that. I strive to model a proper response to failure in my own experiences to lead by example how I expect them to respond to similar setbacks.


Teacher mentality


In order to transfer the technical knowledge to employees (students) the director or managerRockettech Drone should approach their successes and failures with how to grow them as professionals. Legendary coaches do the same thing. Every day, I provide just-in-time training to students as they need it to stay afloat as project leads. Too much info too early, and they don't see relevance, get overwhelmed, and otherwise ignore most of what I say as some kind of brain defense mechanism. Too little, too late info, and they are overwhelmed with the requirements a client as asked for, without the tools to meet them.


If you have questions about Rockettech, or you need our services, use the contact form, or email

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The New Rockettech Blog

On this blog, students and the director of Rockettech will share their experiences involving all things Rockettech. This includes:

  • Ongoing developments of how we function, our objectives, and our expectations
  • Summaries of club events (presentations, Community Tech Nights, guest speakers, etc)
  • Reflections on an individual level of what we've learned along the way

Here's an example of one such development for this school year. We started advertising 30-sec spots on NBC-Lima. Here's our commercial:

Through this blog we hope to gain better understanding of what it means to be in Rockettech, and if another school district wanted to to create a similar club, how they might go about doing that. Comments are welcome!

For those WRITING for this blog, be sure to check out:

- Mark Suter


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On October 22 students of both Mr. Suter and Mrs. Klass' classes attended a tour of BGSU to learn more about jobs in the technology field.  We talked to several different people about positions that the campus itself hired, and about courses they offered that could better prepare you for a job in that field.
First we toured the room that houses the entire school's network.  It had rows and rows of hard drives and other equipment, as well as three giant cooling systems.  They had organized the equipment into "hot" and "cold" aisles, so as to better control the temperature of the hardware and keep it from overheating.  We talked to one of the people in charge of managing all this equipment, and he told us that the network they use is constantly expanding and increasing in size in order to keep up with the digital age.  He also mentioned that for a job like his, the best kinds of skills to have are mostly logic and problem-solving based, and that English and documentation skills can also be very useful.


            While in that area we also explored the room that housed all of the campus' digital forensics equipment, which was behind a door locked by a hand-scanner.  The room also had a computer with several monitors that watched the internet and network usage on campus, and watched for what viruses and malware may be on any computers in the school's network.  On top of watching their network activity, the digital forensics department also worked with the police occasionally to investigate any suspicious electronic devices.  They had equipment that would allow them all of the files, messages, etc. that were on any computer, phone, or tablet, even if they'd been deleted.


            After we had finished that part of the tour, we went through the college and observed some of the technology-oriented degrees they had.  These included Visual Communications and Technology, Engineering Technology, and Construction Management.  The biggest thing that all three of these programs had in common was that they all had a lot of hands-on experience involved in their courses.  While we were touring the Visual Communications Technology area were lucky enough to talk to John, a VCT student.  He told us how important it was to stay on the edge of your comfort zone, and not be afraid to leave it, as well as that you don't have to be limited by your setting.  Also, while we were looking at the Construction Management area we mixed little cups of cement into concrete and learned a bit about the chemical reactions that cause the cement to harden.


            Overall it was a very interesting and informative visit, as it not only helped us understand the details of some tech-related jobs, but it also gave us some more in-depth information about some of the programs offered at BGSU, which could prove helpful to those who are considering it as an option for college.

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A few weeks ago, President Sarah Baumgartner Skyped with Lisa Castenada, the CEO of Foundry 10.  Being a female leader in Rockettech, she had a handful of questions regarding how to better the other members of the club and presented them to Lisa who, as a major leadership role in the Valve corporation, aided Sarah in answering them.
The two discussed the members of Rockettech traveling out to Seattle in the summer time and a major video project that Sarah Baumgartner and Paiten Dulany will be heading up while out there.  Although the over all message of the video will encourage girls to consider technology fields and is to be female directed.
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Near the beginning of the 2014 school year, Rockettech was presented was a major networking opportunity with Valve, an international gaming and software development company located in Seattle, Washington.  Their research department, Foundry 10, flew out their CEO and lead developer, Lisa Castaneda and Tom Swanson, to small-town Pandora-Gilboa High school.  Once they arrived at the school and got acquainted, Lisa and Tom met with Rockettech officers and members through out the day. Some personal meeting, other's group meetings, they asked about the components that Rockettech has in order to function as an entrepreneurial tech club. Lisa and Tom were also curious as to why these student joined Rockettech in the first place and what aspects were appealing and motivating to them. All of the information they gathered was used to determine if the system of Rockettech was transferable to other schools near them in the city and across the nation. Rockettech directer, Mark Suter, and some students have been in continuous contact since the visit.

Not only is this a great real-world networking experience for students, but also an opportunity for some students to escape the "small-town" vibe of Pandora-Gilboa. Lisa and some girls in Rockettech are collaborating on a video project yet to be titled. In order to complete the video, some students and Mr. Suter may fly our to Valve headquarters in the summer of 2015.
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Welcome to the presidents desk!  The names Sarah Baumgartner, actress wanna-be, hopeful writer and current president of the Rockettech club.  I'm going to be keeping a log of what we do in this  club of ours here because, frankly, we kind of do a lot and have a hard time keeping track of everything.  So...this blogging ride shall begin.
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We are

We are a student tech club providing web design, video production, and tech training. We thrive on "donations" that are earned through professional quality work. We are based out of Pandora-Gilboa High School in Pandora, Ohio. Our entrepreneurial spirit drives our activities during class times, not tests.