Northrop Grumman Foundation will be sponsoring 48 middle school students and 16 middle schools teachers from across the country to attend Space Camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., this summer.
Students attending Space Camp will participate in a “space adventure” building a launching rockets, experience weightlessness in an astronaut-training simulator and learning about space travel preparation.
Meanwhile, the teachers selected to attend camp will be given, according to a Northrop Grumman Foundation press release, “tools to enhance how they present science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts in their classrooms.”
Students selected for sponsorship were chosen based on their potential to continue to perform well in the areas of math and science, and two of those students are from the Antelope Valley, Calif. Brian Pease, a student at Endeavour Middle School, won his spot on the trip by writing an essay on the next lunar landing. “Originally, I thought that I couldn’t win,” said Pease, “but then the teachers extended the deadline.”
Pease was tasked with writing an essay that described when, how and why we as humans need to start a new civilization on the moon. In his conclusion, Pease wrote, “I believe that we should go back to the moon and make a new home for us and for scientific purposes. If the earth were to be destroyed from war or a natural disaster, humankind has a chance to continue on and repopulate the Earth if needed. It would also be a launching point to explore other planets. People need to feel pride in exploration again.”
“With writing you get to express your feelings,” said Pease. He added that he also likes the experiments he gets to do in his science classes at school. Pease reported that he is excited about the simulators at camp and said, “most importantly, I will experience what astronauts do when they go to the moon and how they respond to [various circumstances].”
His mother, Tina Pease said, “he called me first and said ‘Mom you remember that essay that I wrote? Well, I’m going to Space Camp.’ I about fainted.” Bill Pease, Brian’s father, said, “My first reaction was jealousy … I would’ve loved that opportunity, that’s why I encouraged him to go for it.”
“I’m hoping that he’s going to get exposed to the aerospace industry and that it will spark the engineer in him, said Mrs. Pease, “he’s into designing and he’s a thinker.”
Pease’s grandfather, Bob Pease is also “very much impressed” with his grandson. “Aviation’s been pretty much my life,” said Mr. Pease, former air traffic controller and commercial pilot, “When I heard he was going to space camp I started loosing all kinds of buttons off my shirt as my chest started puffing up a little bit.”
Ethan Melero, a student at Joe Walker Middle School, was also selected to attend this year’s Space Camp.
While Melero was not required to write an essay, he was selected because he has excelled in math and science at his school. “I got called into the office during P.E. and I thought I was in trouble,” said Melero. That’s when he was told that his teacher, Heidi Hernandez along with his principal, Chis Fitzgerald, had recommended him for the trip.
“I was getting very high grades in school,” said Melero, “This is probably my best year actually.” Melero said that his favorite subjects are math and science and he also participates in a Lego robotics team. He also added that someday he would like to have a career as an engineer.
Melero has already started researching the things he will learn about during camp. “I know we’re going to be doing water activities and I also thought it was really cool that we’re going to be visiting a Mars exhibit,” said Melero, “I’m also going into a 4-G lift-off simulator, I really want to do that.”
Ethan’s mother, Wendy Melero, said that she was “scared” at first about sending her son to Alabama alone, but now feels “confident in Northrop Grumman” because they have sent weekly updates about camp. Ms. Melero also added that she is “super proud.”
“I really want to thank my mom and all my aunts for really helping me and pushing me to do this,” said Melero.
Pease and Melero are both going into the eighth grade this year. They will leave for came July 28 and return Aug. 3. Space Camp is for students between the ages of 12 and 14 and will be in either seventh or eighth grade during their attendance. Northrop Grumman Foundation has sponsored students annually for the past four years. For more information about Space Camp visit www.spacecamp.com.