Space4U Podcast


Space4U Podcast: Andrew Matthes & Leyton Torres – SystemsGo Curriculum Program

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

In this episode:

We meet Andrew Matthes and Leyton Torres to hear about their experiences with the SystemsGo High School STEM Curriculum Program from both teacher and student perspectives.

Matthes has been teaching at Fredericksburg High School in Fredericksburg, Texas, since 2003.  He has taught chemistry, all levels of physics, and currently teaches all four years of the engineering program. Having graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy with a bachelor’s degree in Marine Engineering, he sailed as a third assistant engineer on commercial merchant ships to fulfill his obligation. Deciding not to follow the design engineering path thereafter, he moved up his plans to teach and followed his true passion — changing lives through hands-on education.

Leyton Torres is finishing his junior year at Fredericksburg High School and has been in the SystemsGo engineering classes since his freshman year. He has always been a problem solver, driven by challenges and new opportunities. He volunteered at the 2021 SystemsGo launches for two days, totaling about 24 hours, and assisted in launching a record-breaking 40 rockets in one day. He is now interested in pursuing a career in aerospace engineering.

In our conversation, Andrew shares how he first learned about SystemsGo’s innovative high school rocketry and aerospace curriculum, and what made him decide to bring the program to his school. Leyton discusses helping with the launches and building rockets in past years, the obstacles he encountered, and how SystemsGo changed his future goals.

In explaining how SystemsGo encourages students to develop an emotional connection to their projects, Matthes says, “The fact that they take ownership over everything … when it flies, they’ve got a lot of heart and emotion and commitment put into their rocket, and I think it sticks with them much longer knowing that it’s 100% theirs.”

To learn more about SystemsGo, visit www.systemsgo.org.


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