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AMERICAN MOSAIC - May 30, 2003: Tony Awards/ Model-Rocket Competition / Question About Boeing - 2003-05-29



Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.


This is Doug Johnson. On our program today,

We answer a listener’s question about the American company Boeing...

Play music nominated for the Tony Award ...

And report about a student science contest.

Rocket Contest


The world’s largest model rocket competition for secondary students was held May tenth in the eastern state of Virginia. More than eight-hundred teams took part in test-flight competitions throughout the United States. Those contests narrowed the number of finalists to one-hundred teams. Shep O’Neal has more.


The National Association of Rocketry and the Aerospace Industries Association organized the competition. The student teams were asked to design, build and fly a model rocket. The rocket could not weigh more than about one-thousand-five-hundred grams at the time of take-off. It also had to carry two eggs and an electronic distance reader during the flight.

To win the competition, the rocket had to travel at least four-hundred-fifty-seven meters into the air. At that height, a parachute needed to open to help slow the rocket’s fall back to earth. The two eggs had to land undamaged.

Students from Boonsboro High School in the eastern state of Maryland won the competition. The three-member team said luck and a few prayers had a lot to do with their success. The second place team was from Washington, D.C. A group of students from the western town of Edward, Colorado, came in third. The top five teams and their schools divided fifty-nine-thousand dollars in prize money.

Organizers designed the competition to honor the Wright Brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, one-hundred years ago. Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first controlled, powered flight in history on December seventeenth, nineteen-oh-three. The event launched a new industry for the world and a new business for the brothers.

The organizers of the model rocket competition also hoped the event would build student interest in technical professions, such as aerospace engineering. The head of the Aerospace Industries Association, John Douglass, says he expects many older workers in the profession to retire in the coming years. This, he says, will create a demand for young minds needed to design and build new products. More importantly, however, Mister Douglass said he wanted students to learn that science can be fun.

The Boeing Company


Our VOA listener question this week comes from Bentre Province, Vietnam. Nguyen Trong Tuyen would like some information about Boeing -- the largest aerospace company in the world.

William Boeing started the company in nineteen-sixteen with the help of Navy engineer George Conrad Westervelt. At that time, twenty-eight people worked for the airplane maker. Today, the company employs more than one-hundred-sixty-thousand people in seventy countries.

Boeing moved its headquarters from Seattle to Chicago in two-thousand-one. Last year, the company earned more than fifty-thousand-million dollars.

Boeing has built fourteen-thousand passenger planes. It builds seven different kinds. The smallest plane can carry about one-hundred people. The largest can hold over five-hundred. Boeing estimates that each day, three-million people fly on its passenger planes.

Next year it plans to launch a new service for high-speed, Internet-based communication to airplanes in flight. Passengers could use this technology to communicate over the Internet with people on the ground.

Boeing is also one of the top makers of military planes and defense systems. The planes include tankers used to refuel military aircraft in flight.

The company also manufactures Apache helicopters and F-fifteen fighter planes. It has sold military aircraft to more than twenty countries.

Boeing is also involved in space technology. It builds and launches satellites. It helped create the International Space Station. And it manufactured NASA space shuttles.

Tony Awards


On Sunday, June eighth, the Tony Award ceremony will honor the best stage plays on Broadway in New York City. Shirley Griffith tells us about these awards.


The Tony Awards are the work of a group called the American Theater Wing. The group began as a way for theater people to help in the war effort during World War One. It continued this work during World War Two. Later, the Theater Wing helped returning soldiers. It opened a school to train people to work in the theater. And it began presenting the Tony Awards to honor the best Broadway plays.

The award is named for Antoinette Perry, a producer, director and American Theater Wing official. The name “Tony” is short for Antoinette, so the awards became known as the Tonys. The first Tonys were given in nineteen-forty-seven.

The awards are presented to many people who work on Broadway shows -- actors, directors, set designers, clothing designers and music composers. Tony Awards are also given for best dramatic play and best musical play of the year.

This year, four shows are nominated for Best Musical. “Movin’ Out” is a story told entirely through dances performed to the music of Billy Joel, the American singer, songwriter and pianist. Here is the title song:


Another nominated musical is the French play “Amour.” It is no longer on Broadway. A third nominated musical is “A Year With Frog and Toad," a play for children.

The final nominee for best musical is called “Hairspray.” This play was first a movie. It is the story of an overweight teenage girl living in the state of Maryland in the nineteen-sixties. Here she sings “Good Morning, Baltimore.”


To hear more music from “Hairspray,” and learn more about the show, listen this Sunday to the Special English program This is America.



This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.

Our program was written by Jill Moss and Nancy Steinbach. Our studio engineer was Vosco Volaritch. And our producer was Paul Thompson.

Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.