Savannah-Chatham County Public School System

Isle of Hope Fiddlernauts Launch New Bobcat Space Shuttle Simulator

Published on: 5/15/2019

The Isle of Hope Middle School #Fiddlernauts Student Astronaut Club has launched its new Bobcat Space Shuttle Simulator. The simulator is a vital component, supplementing math and problem-solving skills, in the students’ preparation to compete in NASA-University of Florida Student Astronaut Challenge.


The simulator was funded by the Skidaway Island Rotary Club and built by the Bethesda Barn Builders, Rotarians and Isle of Hope #Fiddlernauts. It will provide an on-site environment that closely replicates the functions of the NASA competitive site, giving the Isle of Hope Middle Schooler’s Club an added benefit in practice time.


The #Fiddlernauts is an afterschool club which has 18-20 students from grades 6-8. The Club was started in the Fall of 2016 when Mr. Wade Smith, Mr. Darren Bagley-Heath and Ms. Carolyn Rethwisch first took a team of 12 students to compete in a Regional Student Astronaut Challenge competition in Richmond Hill.  Over the past three years, the #Fiddlernauts have had tremendous success. In the most recent national 2019 Student Astronaut Challenge at Cape Kennedy, competing against 14 other top middle schools across several states, the #Fiddlernauts TEAM #1 (all girls team) placed 1st in the Space Shuttle Landing Challenge.  With the additional help of Ms. Margaret Nease (GA Southern/Armstrong University), they also placed 1st in the Lab Challenge (“Powering small home appliances by using a car battery”).  When all four of the challenges were averaged together, the #Fiddlernauts all-girls Team #1 was 2nd in the nation overall!  Finally, to top off the celebrating, the crew of TEAM #1 once again brought home the Apollo 13 Teamwork Award. The award has only been given twice and this was the second consecutive year for the #Fiddlernauts.  This is a HUGE feat for the young team. 


This talented group of students is inspired and coached by Isle of Hope School 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year Ms. Carolyn Rethwisch and Dr. Barbara Serianni of GA Southern/Armstrong University. The Skidaway Rotary Club is proud to be able to support these outstanding young people and their mentors. The Skidaway Club’s primary goals are to support and stimulate Early Childhood Learning and Student Leadership. In developing this simulator, the potential to develop these IOH young people’s leadership skills is greatly enhanced.  THE SKY IS THE LIMIT!


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