Contact Victor Williamson with your questions about simulator based experiential education programs for your school.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Rob Smith, A True Friend of the Space Center, Retires from the Alpine School District. The New Laser Show at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center. The Side Effects of Space Center Volunteering. Imnaginarium Theater

Rob Smith and Family

     The Space Center community is paying tribute to Rob Smith, who is retiring after nearly 22 years of serving as the ASD Business Administrator. Rob has always been a good friend of the Space Center.  Because of his leadership and gentle arm twisting, the Space Center was able to raise the necessary funds from private donors to build the new planetarium and the funds to make our simulators what they are today.  
     When news of the demolition of the old Central School came out I received a call from Rob asking me to stop by his office.  Rob grilled me on the history of the Space Center, how it came to be, its mission, original goals and vision.  He told me he was putting together a funding presentation to take to businesses both in and out of Utah for the purpose of raising the funds to build a world class space education center complete with a real planetarium; and that is just what he did. 
     I've said this many many times over the last 33 years and I'm going to say it again; "When the Space Center has had a need, the right person always walks through the door."  It is magical how that has happened time and time again.  Rob was that person to help us transition from the old center to the new and for that, we owe him so much.  
     Thank you Rob, and please enjoy your well deserved retirement.  I'm assuming there will be many visits to the Space Center included in your soon to be abundant free time :)  


The New Daft Punk Show at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center.  You've got to Come See This One. 

     James Porter has a hit on his hands with the new Daft Punk laser light show at the Space Center. If you like great music played on a state of the art sound system in a fog filled planetarium illuminated by scores of lasers then this show is for you.  The would make an excellent family Christmas outing for the holiday season.  Book tickets today through the Space Center's website.  

Volunteering at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center has a Lasting Impact 

     Can one ever be the same after volunteering at the Space Center?  Skyler Carr and Brooks Heder both volunteered as teens way back when and look at them now.  

     Skyler and Brooks work for InfiniD Learning, taking the concept of experiential education through engaging simulations to the world. 

 Imaginarium Theater
The Week's Best Videos From Around the World Edited for a Gentler Audience

Sunday, November 26, 2023

The Williamson's Celebrate Thanksgiving. Imaginarium Theater.


                       Does your kitchen look like this on Thanksgiving Day?

     I'm hoping everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Our family's Feastorama was held at my niece's home in Highland.  Around 65 family members attended. The upmarket family members were dressed in their fineries as if they were eating at a nice restaurant.  The more practical of us (those who don't care what anyone thinks) came in our finest sweatpants with  elastic stretchable waistbands.

We never know what the little'uns are up to at these gatherings. The adults are too busy with their faces buried in the feeding trough


     At family gatherings like this, our family's table discussions can turn heated. We have a broad range of political affiliations in our family, especially between the older and younger generations. We have the right and left wings of the family along with those who's beliefs border dangerously close to socialism.  Me personally, I'm a card carrying independent whose opinions are fine tuned to be exactly the opposite of whatever group I'm sitting with. If I'm surrounded by hard core Republicans, I preach the gospel of free health care and free education.  Once the table has agreed on my heretical state and fantasize of burning me at the stake, I excuse myself to go hunting for unsuspecting tables. Usually there is a liberal - progressive conclave needing to be disturbed by my ramblings on the last rigged election and my thoughts supporting a more radical implementation of the 2nd amendment. 

     Do I believe what I'm saying? Most of the time I don't. I say what I say to inflame passions until all around me are frothing at the mouth and hyperventilating.  It's good entertainment for myself and those who know what I'm doing. I am a connoisseur of chaos and a disrupter of the peace. "Keep 'em guessing," is my motto.

     My methods also work nicely with the various religious factions in the family. We have the High Mormons, Middle Mormons, and Lost Mormons in addition to those who've converted to humanism.  I have talking points for each group prepared ahead of time. Each point is guaranteed to produce a negative reaction. The response I got from the High Mormons after hearing my testimony of reincarnation was well worth the fact that I'll be excluded from certain email strings and multiple text messages in the short future. My phone will remain silent for the next little while until someone needs something from me. 

Great Grandma suffers from dementia.  She requires special protective gear at these gatherings to keep her food from ruining her clothes.

      When all is said and done, I remind the family that we are a loving family that respects and cherishes diversity because diverse is what this family is, like so many others in our modern world.  

     I love the fact that my niece's home has a cozy Decompression Room (the rarely used living room just off the family room). Diffusers scent the room in a special DoTerra blend of fragrances tailored for family events like Thanksgiving; picture the smells of green pastures surrounded by Ponderosa Pines and accented with just a wisp of morning sunshine lingering in the air to help you ease quickly into your happy place.  A Candle or two decorates the room with dancing light. Music tugs at the ear with melodies written in consultation with cardiologists.  Ten minutes in the Decompression Room will lower your blood pressure by 10-15 points. 

     I retreat to the Decompression Room when I reach my limit and there are none left to agitate. I like to sit quietly and watch the teenagers stare at their phones.  You see, this is their hang out room. I walk in, they greet me with a nod or slight wave. I find an open spot to sit and let my meal digest. The teens have granted me the title of "Honorary Teenager" which lets me enter the room and sit amongst them as long as I don't say anything "lame" or question them on any subject which could be construed as passing judgement.  

The special place out back and around by the chicken coop for those needing their tobacco and coffee. While I don't do either, I find these family members refreshing because they cling to the old ways from the home counties of western Montana and the Black Hills of South Dakota

     It was a lovely Thanksgiving.  Now it is time to get a few things done to be ready for school on Monday.  While my students may not be overly enthusiastic to return, I welcome getting back to well scheduled days and blessed routines.  There is a lot to be said for knowing where to be and what to do at any given time.  It takes the guesswork out of living.... :)

Mr. Williamson 

Imaginarium Theater. 
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Sunday, November 19, 2023

The Director of the Discovery Space Center at American Heritage School to Perform in HCT's Fiddle on the Roof. The Sweet Way to Teach Math. Mercy Strike II Debuts at The Space Place. Imaginarium Theater.

Alex DeBirk as Motel

     Alex DeBirk is the physics teacher at American Heritage School in American Fork and the director of school's Discovery Space Center with the starships Discovery and Galileo.  In his very limited spare time, Alex plays many roles in local musical productions.  
     Alex has just announced that he has landed the role of Motel in The Fiddle on the Roof at the Hale Center Theater in Sandy.  This is fantastic news, especially because my entire sixth grade (all 90 of us) will be seeing Fiddle on the Roof in March as part of the HCT's school field trip program.  We will make sure Alex gets the loudest applause and even a standing ovation!
     Alex started his space center career as a young high school volunteer at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center.  He graduated from Lone Peak, went on an LDS mission to Japan, graduated with a master's degree in engineering from Stanford, and has come full circle back to Space EdVenturing by founding the American Heritage School's Discovery Space Center in American Fork.     

The Sweetest Way to Teach Math

     The Space Center's Voyager Academy offers math tutoring to our volunteers on Tuesday afternoons.  I stopped by to say hello on a couple weeks ago and found Hyrum working with our Voyager Club president Mikey on his math homework.  They were using SweetTarts Ropes as a method to calculate curves.  "Now that's the Space Center way," I observed.  "We are masters of taking what we have and reengineering it to meet a need it was never designed to meet."  
Orion, Mikey, and Hyrum

     The spirit of volunteerism is the Space Center's foundation. Both Hyrum and Orion volunteer their time to offer the math tutoring program.  As a community, those of us who work and volunteer at the Space Center do our part to further our nation's space programs by encouraging our people to do their best in their math and science courses. 

Mercy Strike II Debuts at The Space Place at Renaissance Academy 

     The Middle School Tiger Squadron of Renaissance Academy's Voyager Club were the first to do part 1 of a new Long Duration Mission with the working title of Mercy Strike II.
     Many of our staff remember the mission Mercy Strike. I wrote the story years and years ago. Mercy Strike has an ending with the crew of the Voyager barely escaping certain death in a chase scene through Romulan Space.

The Farpoint Voyager Club's Tiger Squadron - 
the first to do the part one of Mercy Strike II

     Our Farpoint Voyager Club's 7-9th grade squadrons did Mercy Strike last year as their Long Duration Mission from October to May. The story was altered somewhat to fit within the Farpoint Universe. The Farpoint version of Mercy Strike  ends with them being hurled toward a star in Cardilir space and then barely escaping the gravity well with a well place nuke. That ending opened the door to a Mercy Strike II which picks up the story from that point.  
     Bracken Funk and I authored the story and are excited to offer it to our cadets. So far the reviews are excellent. 

Sunrise from The Fortress of Solitude

     I call my home in Pleasant Grove the Fortress of Solitude. It sits on the bench overlooking Utah Valley from the living room's west window. The room's east window looks up the mountain side one block away. One late October morning I took this picture of a beautiful sunrise from my front yard.  
     Fall is my favorite time of the year.   

Imaginarium Theater

The Week's Best Videos From Around the World Edited for a Gentler Audience