Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis Honors the Past and Celebrates Tomorrow’s Innovators and Educators at 30th Anniversary
The Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis commemorated the 30th Anniversary of the 1986 Challenger Space Shuttle accident with a program that honored the seven Challenger astronauts, including Christa McAuliffe, who would have been the first teacher to go into space, and recognized seven current teachers who are inspiring our future generation of explorers and innovators.
The award, titled “Challenger Inspiring Teacher Award” was given to teachers who were nominated by former students, administrators, colleagues, and parents. The award recipients included the following: Holly Camacaro, 3rd-grade teacher at Griffith Elementary School in the Ferguson-Florissant School District, Jessica Foersterling, is a 5th-grade science teacher at St. Mary’s School in Alton, IL, Carl Hoagland, Professor of Technology and Learning at the University of Missouri St. Louis, Beth Kassel, 5th-8th grade teacher at St. Justin Martyr Catholic School in Sappington, MO, Diane O’Leary (retired) 6th- grade science at Truman Middle School in the Lindbergh School District, Kyle Selliers, 5th-grade teacher at Signal Hill Elementary School in Belleville, IL, and Cheryl Thomas, 6th-8th grade science teacher at St. Ann Catholic School in Normandy.
“Receiving the Challenger Inspiring Teacher Award at the 30th anniversary honoring the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger is an extreme honor and a humbling experience. The award makes me more motivated to encourage our youth to consider STEM careers,” said Dr. Carl Hoagland, Professor of Technology and Learning at the University of Missouri St. Louis.
In addition to the recognitions and awards, the Challenger Learning Center held a program during the day that included future educators—education majors from area colleges and universities, who worked alongside a group of 6th-grade students from Airport Elementary School in Ferguson in a simulated space mission. Those education majors also participated in some hands-on activities that were similar to the ones that Christa McAuliffe was planning on teaching from space.