Local students and teacher explore space program

Published 10:26 pm Friday, September 16, 2016

Two Suffolk middle school students and a teacher were selected to attend NASA’s Space camp earlier this summer.

From July 24-28, Sophia Welsh, 13, of John Yeates Middle School, Roosevelt Brown Jr., 13, of King’s Fork Middle School, and Jenna Martin, a teacher at King’s Fork Middle, attended the camp in Huntsville, Ala.

The Northrop Grumman Foundation sponsored the trip for the students and Martin, according to a press release.

Email newsletter signup

During the program, students and teachers learned about rocket history, astronaut training and more.

The students and teachers were separated but both engaged in similar activities.

“It was awesome,” Martin said. “They kind of threw us in as students.”

The program helped students and teachers “understand procedures and how things work together and get exposure of what’s out there in the space world,” said Roosevelt Brown II, Roosevelt’s father.

Attendees engaged in unique activities such as moon walking simulations using a gravity chair, building and launching model rockets and mission challenges. The latter required students to use their critical thinking skills to tackle scenarios.

The rising eighth-graders and Martin agreed the program required a great deal of teamwork.

“I realized how important teamwork and communication is and what we can do when we put our minds together,” Welsh said.

“The biggest takeaway was the bond I had made with my team,” Martin said.

The participating teachers are still in contact and even created a Facebook group to use as a forum to share ideas and to offer input, according to Martin.

Despite the 10- to 12-hour days, Martin and the students strongly advocated the program.

“It would be amazing if every student and every teacher could be a part of this program,” Martin said.

Brown hopes to be an astronaut and Welsh hopes to be a NASA doctor in the near future.