Can an average civilian send a rocket into space?

I was thinking for a senior project for my school to send a rocket into orbit around the earth. It doesn't have to maintain itself up there, just get up there.
And there is all a problem with monitoring it. How will I know if it made it's way up there or not.? according to wiki on outer space, the US defintion of space flight is 50 miles.
So i'm planning to send it up at least that far, my goal point.
What precautions should I take?
Are there any legallities that i should be aware of?
and what are some ideas that I can do to accomplish this?

open to anything except negative comments and insults.

Answer:
I believe it is possible. There are many rocketry associations around and they would be of help.

You may try the links below for starters. They give lots of information, easily covering your questions. The NAR even has competitions in school levels.

Happy rocketeering and remember to respect gravity.
As a practical matter, it's not possible. Rocket engines are decidedly high tech gadgets, not buildable with any reliability in a garage shop. Special alloys are required, and cryogenic fuels; the budget for fuel handling equipment alone can run thousands of dollars. If you can get past the technical problems, you will need to negotiate with the FAA, which requires a flight plan for anything above 18,000 feet.

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