McKinney, Texas – Summer means rest, relaxation and fun for most McKinney ISD students, but for Cockrill Middle School 7th grader Julia Kiger, the break has been truly out of this world. Julia recently attended Space Camp® held at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The weeklong educational program promotes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), while training students and adults with hands-on activities and missions based on teamwork, leadership and decision-making.
Julia took part in the Space Academy Program, specifically designed for trainees who have a particular interest in science. She spent the week training with a team that flew a simulated Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Once aboard the ISS, the crew participated in experiments and successfully completed an extra-vehicular activity (EVA), or space walk. Julia and crew returned to earth in time to hear retired Space Shuttle astronaut Dr. Don Thomas speak at their graduation.
Cockrill Middle School 7th grader Julia Kiger (center) at her Space Camp graduation ceremony. (Photo courtesy of Debbie Kiger)
“Space Camp was so much fun!” said Julia. “We built and launched rockets, and I met a lot of new people from all over the country. Our team won the Commanders Cup which is for the team earning the most points during the week!”
Space Camp crew trainers who lead each 16-member team must have at least a year of college, and 67 percent of the staff are college graduates. Space Camp operates year-round in Huntsville, Alabama, and uses astronaut training techniques to engage trainees in real-world applications of STEM subjects. Students sleep in quarters designed to resemble the ISS and train in simulators like those used by NASA. More than 560,000 trainees have graduated from Space Camp since its opening in Huntsville in 1982, including STS-131 astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger. Last year, children and teachers from all 50 states and 58 international locations attended Space Camp.
For additional information on Space Camp, visit www.spacecamp.com or call 1-800-63 SPACE.
Information provided by the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
McKinney Independent School District