Widow of Challenger Astronaut speaks to KY school; helps local science

By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio | facebook

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Louisville's Shawnee High School has launched an affiliations with the Challenger Learning Center, turning the school's science area into an active science lab which looks like something you'd normally have to take a field trip to see.

It's part of a new hands-on science imitative; and it's a rare feat that the school has been labeled as one of the Challenge Learning Centers.  There are only 48 of those in the country.

The Space Shuttle Challenger catastrophe took place in 1986.  The widow of its Astronaut, Dick Scobee, visited the school to see the progress and to talk to the students.

"It was 25 years ago that we lost the challenger crew.. The commander was my husband the teacher was my dear friend - Christa McAuliffe - and while we lost them and everyone knew how they died, we wanted them to know how they lived, so we said why not continue their missions for them," Dr. June Scobee Rodgers said.

That's what the Challenger Learning Center aims to do, as Dr. Scobee Rodgers and other family members from the tragedy help keep the mission alive.

"In a way we've paid tribute to them and it's a good legacy for them and their mission continues every day a child walks through that door and climbs aboard -- they're on a mission," Dr. Scobee Rodgers said.

That mission is now being kept alive at Shawnee High School and 47 other schools and universities across the country, helping to make science come alive.

"The academy is a terrific opportunity for kids to apply what they're learning in a text book they can apply in a hands on experience, so to see this, I'd like to share with the rest of the nation what you're doing right here in Louisville," Dr. Scobee Rodgers said.

The experience about what happened in 1986 and how it impacted Dr. Scobee Rodgers life has been the subject of her new book, which includes a rare endorsement from Neil Armstrong.

Called "Silver Lining", her book chronicles her childhood and her mission to carry on her late husband's dream, which has taken her to Washington D.C., to meeting with the Pope.

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