Space Camp 2015 in Review!

The dream of taking our 5th grade class to Space Camp all started after I returned from the life changing Honeywell Educator @ Space Academy in June 2014. I knew, that our students deserved this opportunity and that we would ( somehow) make it happen. My dream quickly became theirs and this group of students worked to make it a reality… 

                                                 Space Camp 2015: 3 days in 3 minutes

Ensuring that every student, regardless of the family’s ability to pay, could attend Space Camp was the foundation for this trip. For this reason, every penny raised went towards the total class goal, not that of the individual child who raised it. The class community worked towards this goal together.

So how did 25 ten year olds raise over $24,000 to make their dream come true? It certainly was not a solo effort.  The students made a newscast, explaining what this would mean to them, they busked at local markets, wrote letters to potential funders and held bake-sales every Friday of the year. They came early to school, stayed late, donated allowances and worked together as a community of learners to meet their goal.

In addition to every amount donated by individuals around the country who were inspired by our students, we also had amazing support from The Capitol Hill Community FoundationRaytheon and AIAA Mid-Atlantic .  Without the support of these organizations, and the countless adults who volunteered their time and talents ( thank you Aunt Lizzy!) we would have had a much more difficult time reaching our goal.

As fundraising continued tirelessly each week of the school year, the students explored science and
engineering in their preparation to attend. We were visited by amazing astronaut Don Thomas who volunteered his time to speak with our students ( another shout out to Honeywell Educator @ Space Academy as it was there where I met him for the first time!).  He shared his experiences getting into the space program and on his multiple missions into space.
Posing with an astronaut!

Students studied the movement of the Earth in space and kept record of the questions they would ask at Space Camp. They wrote goals for themselves– personal and academic– and then, on June 3, 2015, we LAUNCHED!

Gathering for a 5:30am departure

Perhaps the first time 25 ten year olds are all on time for something…. at 5:30am!

For many of our students, this was the first time on a plane, or the first time away from home. For all, this was the first time at Space Camp or on an overnight trip with classmates. The staff at National Airport and US Airways took amazing care of us, expediting the check-in process and making sure we were taken care of!

On the way back, Nancy, an amazing flight attendant for Republic Airlines, upgraded 3 of our students to 1st class and treated us as royalty. She gave a beautiful shoutout to our group and even worked it out so one of our students could sit in the cockpit upon landing and welcome us all home. 

What was Space Camp really like? Take a look at each of the videos below. Each day I made a video to send home to families to share our adventures. These are filled with pictures and videos of our amazing experience.


(Not sure why this is the chosen picture but th kids sure did love the food and Space Camp staff!)

                                                                          DAY 2

                                                                           DAY 3

Do you, or your organization want to help make this trip a reality for next year’s cohort of amazing 5th graders? Their task is even larger! They have many more students and again, we want to make sure that ALL can attend regardless of family’s ability to pay. You can visit to donate. Check back in September when students return to school to get to know each of our incoming class!

Thank you!
Vanessa Ford

Posted in Specials Posts, Think Tank.