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Space Camp

Last updated at 2:05 AM on 30/11/07  

Teacher Cherry Harbin, left, is taking 15 students to the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, next April. Jamie Pennell is one of the group and here she tries on the flight suit that Harbin got when she went to the centre.
Teacher Cherry Harbin, left, is taking 15 students to the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, next April. Jamie Pennell is one of the group and here she tries on the flight suit that Harbin got when she went to the centre.
St. Peter’s Academy students are getting set to blast off to space camp print this article

DIANE CROCKER 
The Western Star

BENOIT’S COVE  — A group of 15 students from St. Peter’s Academy in Benoit’s Cove are getting ready to embark on an out of this world experience.

Grade 6 teacher Cherry Harbin will be taking 11 of her Grade 6 students and four Grade 7 students to the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, next year.
The group will attend a three-day Pathfinder camp in late April.

Harbin has attended two camps for teachers at the centre. Two summers ago, she attended a one-week camp as part of the centre’s scholarship program. There were 200 teachers from all over the world in the program. This past summer, she returned to take part in a second two-week advanced academy. This time she was one of 37 from the original 200 selected to attend.

Harbin says the opportunity to go to the space camp was something she initially got involved with because of what it could mean for her teaching.

The application process included showing camp organizers they types of adversities you have in teaching math and science in your area.

“So of course being here in this rural community and even on the west coast of Newfoundland, there’s not a whole lot where you can actually go outside your classroom and teach science and math. So I felt being able to have that opportunity and bring those types of things back to the class would have been a perfect chance.

“As a teacher that’s my job, to make sure that every student that I teach gets every opportunity to grow and to learn and to experience everything in the curriculum.
Of course for me it means a lot more than just sitting inside the classroom and going through books.”

It was because of her own experience that she decided to look into giving her students the same opportunity.

“This will be the ultimate,” says Harbin who admits to being a bit envious of her students.
“Because the sky is the limit for what they’re able to do.”

The Pathfinder camp will include rocket making and simulated space missions, along with astronaut training and teamwork activities.

All of these are things the students are looking forward to.

“It’s a once in a lifetime chance to go,” says Grade 6 student Jamie Pennell.

Pennell says Harbin has showed them some of the types of missions they might be working on and for her that has made the trip “more exciting”.

Pennell enjoys studying math and science but lately science has become more interesting.

“Because it has so much to do with our Alabama trip.”

This 11-year-old would like to become a clothing designer and laughs when it’s suggested she could design the next space suit.

After looking at pictures Harbin took at the camps she attended Pennell says “I think we’re going to have a really good time.”

Fellow Grade 6 student Nicholas O’Connell, 11, also can’t wait to go to the camp.

“I like stuff about space.”

He’s especially looking forward to the missions the students will work on and to getting his very own flight suit, much like the one belonging to Harbin that hangs in classroom along with space shuttles, rockets and pictures of space. 

Twelve-year-old Mark Connolly heard all about the space camp when he was in Harbin’s class last year, so he didn’t hesitate to sign on for the trip.

“I really like space and everything,” says the Grade 7 student, “so I really wanted to go.”
Connolly is looking forward to learning more about space and going to the rocket museum.

Fundraising

With the trip approved and the group selected, Harbin says the “biggest challenge” now is the fundraising.

Because she doesn’t want the students to be put in a position where they might have to say ‘I can’t go’, Harbin has put together a plan to raise some money to help cover the cost of the airfare to Alabama.

She says that’s the biggest expense with the cost of tickets being close to $1,200 each.
“That’s my goal,” she says “to minimize the amount the parents have to pay.”

The group has already held a fish cake sale and has a scratch card fundraiser coming up.

She says the parents of the students in the group have also come onboard and are planning to hold a few dances.

The kids are also recycling on their own to raise the money to pay their own camp fees.
Harbin has also sent out letters to number of businesses in the Benoit’s Cove area and in Corner Brook.

The first to respond was SunLife Financial in Corner Brook with a $500 donation.
Glen Acreman, sales manager with SunLife, says they had no hesitation when it came to supporting the group.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these students and we encourage all businesses both local and national to certainly consider doing the same.”

Harbin says she is just trying to get people to realize how important of an opportunity this is for the kids.

“If I can spark their interest in science and math, who knows what that could bring for their future.

“I could have a few rocket scientists or astronauts in amongst our midst,” she says “and you know what that’s not something that is hard to believe because NASA is looking for people all the time and it’s not just astronauts, there’s so many different jobs in science and math that are connected to the NASA program.

“Who knows,” she says.

Take Connolly for instance. He says he’d like to one day work in the space field on the Canadarm.

Space Camp 2008

   Lifestyles RSS Feed
Last updated at 2:43 AM on 27/05/08  

Team Orion from St. Peter’s Academy in Benoit’s Cove stands underneath one of the many rockets on display in Rocket Park at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. “As a teacher, my goal for them is to always reach for the stars,” says Cherry Harbin. — Submitted Photos
Team Orion from St. Peter’s Academy in Benoit’s Cove stands underneath one of the many rockets on display in Rocket Park at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. “As a teacher, my goal for them is to always reach for the stars,” says Cherry Harbin. — Submitted Photos
Space camp shows St. Peter’s Academy students that out-of-this-world opportunities are within their reach print this article

BENOIT'S COVE
DIANE CROCKER 
The Western Star

A small school on the south shore of the Bay of Islands could be producing some of Canada’s future astronauts. 

A group of students from St. Peter’s Academy in Benoit’s Cove recently returned from Huntsville, Ala., where they attended a three-day Pathfinder camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. 

Grade 6 teacher Cherry Harbin took the 12 students — seven from Grade 6 and five from Grade 7 — along with three parents to the camp. They left home on April 24 and returned on April 29. 

This was actually Harbin’s third time at the centre. She’s attended two camps for teachers. 

Earlier in the school year she approached the school and the students with the idea of attending the Pathfinder camp. After months of fundraising, the group more than met its goal and the trip was a go. 

“Before we went it was kind of neat because I knew exactly what they were going to be doing. I knew exactly what they were going to be learning and what they were going to be seeing,” says Harbin. “But none of the pictures or anything that I’ve ever shown them really prepared them for what they were about to do. 

“It was neat being a part of that and watching them learn the things that I had learned and really taking it all in.” 

The St. Peter’s group, which was dubbed Team Orion, was one of 13 at the centre at the time and the only one from outside the United States. 

While at the camp, Harbin says, the students were exposed to all aspects of space exploration. They were briefed on the history of space exploration including exploration of Mars and the landing on the moon. They got a chance to try out a variety of simulators to learn about G force and the moon rover, and they built engine rockets and launched them at the Homer Hickam Launch Pad. 

They also went to Rocket Park where they got to see Mercury capsules, the astronaut suit worn by Neil Armstrong when he landed on the moon and the Saturn V, the most powerful rocket ever made. A trip to nearby Grant, Ala., gave them the chance to visit Cathedral Caverns.

But the highlight of the trip was when the group completed its mission on board Discovery. 

“Each one of them had their own position,” says Harbin of the simulated space flight, with some of them in mission control, some of them in the space station and some acting as mission specialists on the orbiter. 

The setup was “pretty amazing,” says Harbin, with every part of the simulation being exactly as it would be if you were in the actual mission control or on the orbiter.  

The real feeling of the mission was not lost on 11-year-old Sara Mitchell, who served as an integrated communications officer (INCO).

“Because we had all these screens and we could view inside of the spacecraft and we’d have these problems and we would have to tell them the buttons to click and how many times and we’d have to fix all the problems. And that part actually felt real because you’d  have to open up books and search (for the solutions),” says the Grade 6 student. 

Mitchell was responsible for tracking the weather and providing the countdown.

Fellow Grade 6 student Jamie Pennell was assigned to the science lab and she and her partner got to talk to the pilot and other crew and relay information on how their experiments turned out. 

Harbin says a big part of the mission was teamwork and working as a group to be successful. 

That lesson in teamwork earned the St. Peter’s crew the Most Outstanding Team award.
Harbin says this was given to them for being able to complete the activities that they were given, teamwork and enthusiasm as a group. 

“I think the whole thing of that mission was for them to realize how important it was to work together as a team.”

With Mark Connolly as commander, the group had to work together to successfully land the shuttle.

“They all worked together, it was great teamwork.” says Harbin who adds the students realized that none of what Connolly did would have happened without the support of the team.

Harbin says she took the group to the camp to show them the vast possibilities that are out there for them.

“What I wanted them to get out of this program was the idea that there are so many different jobs that you could do to be a part of (space exploration).”

She says between NASA and the Canadian Space Agency there are a lot of opportunities.

“So if you’ve got the desire for that kind of thing and you’ve got an interest in math and science, then that kind of thing doesn’t have to be something that’s so far fetched that they couldn’t do it.”

From the students’ reactions it looks like she achieved her goal.

Mitchell is excited by the possibility that she and her classmates might be old enough to become astronauts by the time there is an attempt to land manned spacecrafts on Mars. 

“So it’s possible that it might be some of us,” she says adding that she’s interested in a career in mission control.

Mitchell’s excitement is obvious as she talks about her experiences at the camp. 

“We went on these rides that simulate the feeling of going up in space.”

At 36-storeys high, the Space Shot left her with an out of this world feeling.

“They shoot you up as fast as it can go and there’s a point right at the top where for about 10 seconds you feel weightless, and that was kind of scary because they had to put this bar down over your chest and if it wasn’t there it felt like you would float out of the seat.”

The whole experience, she says “was just amazing. It was the most outstanding trip I’ve been on so far. It was amazing. It was incredible.” 

After experiencing the camp for herself Pennell says it was a lot more fun than she had first expected. 

The 11-year-old says Harbin’s explanation of the camp made it sound “really cool” but in no way prepared them for what they would see. 

“When we got there we were like ‘oh wow, this is nothing like she was trying to say to us,’” she says.

“It was like the best time in my life.”

Space Camp

Back from NASA; Space camp helps kids think about non-traditional careers, Rotary told print this article

GARY KEAN 
The Western Star

Mark Connolly of St. Peter’s Academy in Benoit’s Cove explains how a three-stage rocket works to the Rotary Club of Corner Brook, while schoolmate Shania Paul, centre, and teacher Cherry Harbin listen. — Star Photo by Gary Kean
Mark Connolly of St. Peter’s Academy in Benoit’s Cove explains how a three-stage rocket works to the Rotary Club of Corner Brook, while schoolmate Shania Paul, centre, and teacher Cherry Harbin listen. — Star Photo by Gary Kean

CORNER BROOK — One of the avenues of service the Rotary Cub abides by focuses on vocations.

While that primarily means Rotarians serving others through their own professions, the Rotary Club of Corner Brook put a twist on that by recently supporting an educational trip by a dozen students from St. Peter’s Academy in Benoit’s Cove to attend a three-day Pathfinder camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.

During the club’s weekly luncheon Thursday, members heard from two of those students, Mark Connolly and Shania Paul, and their teacher chaperone, Cherry Harbin.

Harbin had been to the space camp twice before and brought back lessons she learned to teach kids in her classroom. When she went back a third time in April, she had 12 of her Grade 6 and 7 students with her.

She told Rotarians about the visit, including how the school group — which was dubbed Team Orion — learned all kinds of neat information about space exploration and had their horizons vastly expanded by the experience. While it was cool to discover things about the history of space exploration, from sending people to the moon to sending machines to Mars and beyond, the group also got to check out several simulators. In fact, they even got to do a simulated mission of the space shuttle Discovery.

Connolly, who was given the job of commander aboard Discovery, successfully landed the ship as it returned to Earth.

“I had to press a lot of buttons on this humongous board covered in switches and buttons,” Connolly told Rotarians. “At the end of the mission, I had to fly the space shuttle onto the runway. Everyone was so surprised and the instructor was really pleased with me because I was one of only a few people who were able to land the shuttle on the runway.”

Paul’s job, meanwhile, was back on Earth in mission control.

“I got to speak to the people in the spaceship to make sure everything was OK,” she said.

Future astronaut?

Connolly, who wants to return to the camp and do a more advanced program there, said he’s now thinking of becoming an astronaut.

“Because of this program, I would like to pursue a career as maybe a space shuttle commander, or in flight control or maybe as one of the people who builds the rocket,” said Connolly, adding that a strong background in science and math, being in tiptop physical condition and first becoming a pilot with plenty of flying time would be important to becoming an astronaut.

Harbin said getting kids to think about such non-traditional careers is the idea behind the whole experience.

“NASA is not just all about astronauts,” she said. “You can do so many different things in engineering and technology.”

 

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