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Jun 2009: Year 2 Summary

We wanted to do more this year and we certainly did!

Near the beginning of the year, we held NASA Week. The NES Team found an activity that could be used in all of the departments, allowing us a focus on NASA from many different perspectives. The week was capped off by a visit from Astronaut Duane "Digger" Carey who spoke at two assemblies, visited several classes, and had lunch with a group of students who had won this opportunity. The following night was our first Star Party with the Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society.

Also early in the year, NASA arranged for us to attend a special exhibit at the Aerospace Museum of California. A group of students had the opportunity to see the exhibit, meet Astronaut Karol Bobko, and ride some of the rides at the museum.

In the middle of the year, Ms. Nguyen was selected to attend a NASA workshop called Winter Story which was held in Yellowstone National Park (video here).

In February we began to get intense. We began preparing for NASA competitions, MESA (Math Engineering Science Acheivment) competitions and robotics competitions - all while we're also trying to prepare for Math Science Discovery Night (MSDN). Somehow we managed to pull it all together. MSDN was a huge success - nearly twice as big as our first effort. The kids were amazing and everybody - faculty, staff, parents - were extremely supportive.

Just one week after MSDN, we participated in NASAs Virtual Student Symposium (VSS). Five students presented the results of their experiments to grow crystals to NASA personnel via a digital link. All were excellent, but two were chosen to attend the actual Student Symposium held at the Johnson Space Center in Houston at the end of April. While there, they met an astronaut and lots of other students from all around the country. It was an amazing experience for all involved and we hope to do this again (pre-symposium EG Citizen article here and a post-symposium video here).

Also in March-April are the MESA competitions. This year they were held at CSU Sacramento and once again we were very successful. Our students can do amazing things when they put their minds to it.

We started a robotics club way back in September. Their competition preparation was interrupted by Math Science Discovery Night and the VSS and MESA competitions. In May, we finally held RoboChallenge 2009 (video here).

It was a rewarding year. Now we head off to our summer workshops with hopes of making next year at least as rewarding.