Valley Center Students' Studies Take Them To Space

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Several high schools across the country participated in a student spaceflight experiments program, including one in Kansas.

The program gave students a chance to interact with astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Valley Center High School was the only Kansas school selected to ask an astronaut a question.

Students and faculty felt honored to participate in the program. One teacher's idea to apply to NASA led to enlisting other teachers to help write the selection proposal. Questions were submitted to NASA and sophomore Caleb Claussen got to pose his question to the astronauts.

"Was there anything you weren't prepared for when you went into space?" he asked the astronauts.

"The one thing I really wasn't prepared for -- and I'm not sure anyone can totally be prepared for -- is that you're in a place where there is no up and down," replied astronaut Kevin Ford.

The lack of gravity also illustrated by Commander Sunita William's hair. Williams holds the record for the woman who has spent the most time in space. NASA hopes the program gets students interested in science, technology, engineering and math.

"I thought it was cool we got to talk to the astronauts while they were actually in space," said sophomore Brittany-Jo Curry.

"It's cool how we get to use our math, our science, our English and everything like that to correspond with this experiment," added senior Madison Anderson.

"With all these different types of degrees people can earn, it can translate into space exploration," said senior Wyatt Viuex.

The astronauts encouraged students to pursue their dreams, even if those dreams don't lead them into space.

The point was not to inspire the students to become astronauts, but if it inspires them to excel in science, technology, engineering and math, then perhaps all the better for all of us.

"But to get these kids excited about math, about science, about all the career possibilities out there," said Valley Center teacher Riley Greenwood.

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