The Student News Site of Hickman High School

Purple and Gold News

The Student News Site of Hickman High School

Purple and Gold News

The Student News Site of Hickman High School

Purple and Gold News

Shoot for the stars

How CASA students set their goals in outer space
The CASA robot dog, Terabyte, visits Hickman’s library on Dec. 13.

Do you know what CASA is?  


CASA is a class that stands for Columbia Aeronautics and Space Association; it is like NASA. 


It’s a class of about 22 students at Hickman. The students get to pick their project to work on the entire school year,  something that’s aerospace-themed.  


“I typically want them to work in teams of three students, and get just better teamwork and better engineering practices,” CASA advisor Micheal Merz said. 


Merz advises all the students to try and help them brainstorm more ideas, and help the students with their projects. 


“Each student gets about $200 to spend on all the materials they need to get their projects done,” Merz said. 


When the students pick their projects, they start the brainstorming and selection process. The class gets to have video conferences with NASA monthly, so they can help the students get the best ideas, and help, and encourage them so they can finish their projects. 


“The reason NASA gives it to these high school kids is NASA acknowledges that engineers, by the time they go through college and get hired by NASA, they don’t have creativity,” Merz said. 


The kids in CASA have the creativity that NASA is looking for.


“We also have a club. We meet on Wednesdays after school so the students can get extra time. We have Wednesdays after school at 4:30. We also have a rocket club that meets at the same time so we’re building model rockets as part of a larger competition called the American Rocketry Challenge,” Merz said. 


This competition has about 1000 teams across the country, students apply to be a team, and every year, they have a different challenge to win a recommendation letter from NASA. 


“This benefits us too because a recommendation letter can help with my GPA or going to college,” Nathaniel Knarr (11) said. 


The students that are in CASA work hard and put so much effort and time into their projects. It is more than just a class or just something to do for fun. For a lot of the students, it is their dream to become a part of NASA, and this class helps them to become the best engineers out there.


“CASA gives students hands-on experience with a real-world engineering project. CASA gives students the time and resources for students to explore their interests and grow their engineering skills,” Merz said. “[The] CASA class also gives students an opportunity to develop teamwork skills and the opportunity to work with actual NASA engineers.”

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All Purple and Gold News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • H

    Hannah AdamsFeb 28, 2024 at 10:20 am

    I really liked learning more about CASA and what they do. I think you could have added a bit more information, like maybe go into more depth on one of the projects they are working on