Pa. district launches NASA partnership

October 06, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - NASA astronaut Megan McArthur told a group of 11th- and 12th-grade girls from Greencastle-Antrim High School Tuesday that she struggled with math and chemistry in school, but persevered with hard work to overcome her difficulties.

McArthur spoke to the 15 students enrolled in the Greencastle-Antrim High School's Women in Science class during a luncheon at the Antrim House Restaurant.

She said she was encouraged by seeing young women pursuing studies in engineering and science.

"There are not a lot of women doing it, but don't let that slow you down," she said.

"Pursue your dreams. Go on to college. Work hard. Excel at it," she said.

The luncheon was the first of three events launching the three-year partnership of NASA with Greencastle-Antrim High School and Middle School.


The local school district is one of 50 new NASA Explorer Schools selected this year among more than 300 that competed to be in the program.

The partnership with NASA will provide new teaching resources and technology tools for grades seven through nine through NASA experts and other resources, the district said in a news release.

Schools in the program are also eligible to receive up to $17,500 during the three years to buy technology tools that support science and mathematics instruction, the release said.

The program is designed to increase student interest and participation in science, mathematics and technology. Activities focus on increasing student knowledge about careers in the three subjects and developing their abilities in applying the subjects.

Tara Clopper, a science teacher for ninth-grade students, is the NES team leader. She attended a weeklong leadership conference for NES team leaders at the Kennedy Space Center in May. She is one of six district teachers involved in the program.

Students will have videoconferences with NASA scientists, take field trips to NASA centers and also have internship opportunities through the program.

In addition, teachers will have access to professional development opportunities and educational resources for their classrooms and community.

McArthur followed the luncheon by having her picture taken with the students. She also signed autographed photos of herself.

McArthur, along with Dorothy Perkins, an administrator at the Goddard Space Center, and Kris Brown, special assistant to the director of Goddard Space Center, addressed students in grades seven through nine at an assembly in the high school auditorium in the afternoon.

An evening science information fair ended the daylong event.

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