Thumbs up: It takes the right stuff to soar.

And the aspiring rocket scientists at Spring Grove Area High School weren't going to let a little thing like NASA budget cuts keep them grounded.

Spring Grove was chosen by the space agency to have a Student Launch Initiative team in the 2012-13 school year after one of its rocketry teams finished fourth at a national rocket event. The funding was good for two years.

Unfortunately, last year's government shutdown and sequestration eliminated NASA's high school programming — including the funding for a new rocket Spring Grove's team had designed last summer.

It could have scrubbed the launch.

Instead, 10 students secured $15,000 in grants to cover NASA's aborted funding, resulting in a rocket that launched last weekend at an event in Maryland. The team hopes to have its findings published in rocketry-related journals.

Keep aiming high (because sometimes it really does take a rocket scientist).

Thumbs up: Thanks go to the Salvation Army, which is celebrating its 125th year helping York County families in need.

The local agency was started in 1889 by Salvation Army officials Capt. Ella Callender and Lt. Annie Holmes who came to York from Brooklyn, four years earlier, to run services to help people.


Advertisement

Officially known as the York Citadel Corps, it provides emergency assistance to individuals and families, including food, clothing, utility assistance and other aid. The organization offers recreational and educational programs for youth and self-development programs for adults, as well as worship services at its chapel and Hispanic ministries sites.

"By faith, we sow the seeds that someone else will reap," said George Lenkner, the agency's spokesman. "When we provide a person that one meal, we're doing it as part of the big picture for that person's life, though we may never see the end result, never know how they or their lives turned out."

Thumbs up: When Bonnie Grau and Kathryn Blunt communicate, they do it old-school.

None of this Facebook, Twitter or Skype hype — these two pals an ocean apart actually put pen to paper.

And they've been doing it for 70 years.

Blunt, from England, came to visit Grau's Springettsbury Township home last week, marking their eighth face-to-face meeting.

The two became pen pals when Grau's uncle George Reisinger, a teacher sent to England during WWII, struck up a friendship with Blunt's teacher. The two fourth-graders started writing and never stopped.

"Young people today should look for the same opportunity," Grau suggested. "The letters are keepers."