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

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Honor's Night at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center. Imaginarium Theater

Honor's Night at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center

August 8, 2019

     The Christa McAuliffe Space Center held its last summer Honor's Night in the current building last Thursday. Next year's summer's end Honor's Night will be in the new Space Center and Central School.  Unfortunately I was unable to attend so must rely on what little I can scour from the CMSC Facebook site.  

     This is Mason and JJ M.  If my memory is correct I'm guessing that JJ M won overall Lord of the Votes for the summer season.  The little trophy Mason holds was given to the person with the fewest votes, at least that is what we used it for back in the day.  Or it could mean that Mason took second place.

     Congratulations to the Magellan staff for taking top simulator for 2019 summer camp season with an impressive 95.1% overall satisfaction score.  What made this even more special was the fact that this was Conner Larsen's last summer at the CMSC.  Conner is leaving Utah for North Carolina and school.  Conner was blessed to have the staff he did. All of them are gifted in the art of imagineering and all hard workers.  

     And sadly, the Christa McAuliffe Space Center says farewell to three of their best.  Conner Larsen, Lindsey Hatch, and Orion Bowers.  All three are retiring from active space service. Conner to school in North Carolina, Lindsey and Orion will be leaving for LDS missions.  Their shoes will be tough to fill.  They've been with us since they were younglings and have grown strong with the Force. 

     And of course the best summer story, by just 1/2 a percent, was Live and Let Die!  The Magellan was beat out by the Galileo!  

     Again Conner comes through at the end to teach everyone that old dogs can learn new tricks.  Conner Larsen takes the "Best Flight Director" trophy for the summer!

     Mr. Porter was pleased to award Magellan Supervisor Blues to two young men.  Tyler is on the right.  I'll get the name of the other young man and post it.   

     And finally Jake Hadfield and Mason Perry were both inducted into the Journeyman Guild for serving over 5 years at the CMSC.   

Imaginarium Theater
The best videoettes from around the world edited for a gentler audience

Sunday, August 4, 2019

A Flight Director Begins and Another Sees an End, All on One Saturday. Space Center and Central Elementary Construction Update. Simulator Scores for the CMSC's Last Extended Camp. James Porter on the Radio. Imaginarium Theater

A Flight Director Begins and Another Sees an End, All on One Saturday

     Shall we start with a celebration before we get to the news of the soon to be sadly departed?  The Space EdVentures community celebrates Mason Perry, a new flight director at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center.

     Mason's time at the CMSC started when he was junior high school. He was one of my Farpoint Cadets for our Long Duration Mission Program. You see him in the photo on the left with his squadron on a cold Saturday morning.  He volunteered at the CMSC around the same time learning the ropes as he progressed. 

     In August 2018 Mason graduated to "Time Lord" status and was awarded his Supervisor Blues. 

August 2018
     Mason chose the Phoenix as his simulator of choice for flight director training. Jordan Smith was his Set Director and trainer.  
     Just a few weeks ago Mason passed his last Phoenix training mission and was awarded his Flight Director Blues.   

     Yesterday Mason took that last step and ran his first solo paid Phoenix private mission. I stopped by the CMSC to celebrate his accomplishment and found him briefing his crew in the Kiva.  

     It would be an adult crew!  No worries, Mason handled it like a young pro.  When it got the actual mission, Mason started sweating a bit.  He didn't have a second chair.  Yes, the Phoenix can be flown with one staff, but with an adult crew you really need a good second chair.  

Mason ready to go solo
      I was tempted to offer my services as his second chair but knew I'd make matters worse.  Yes, the Phoenix was the creation of Kyle Herring and myself but that doesn't mean I would have the slightest clue how to operate it today.  "The Magellan has a full staff," I said to Mason. "Let me go see if I can't wrangle someone to come in to give you a hand."  
Shifting staff from ship to ship was something I had to do on a regular basis during my time at the CMSC helm. I was confident someone would be willing to help.
     Tyler was the man of the hour!  Connor asked if he'd be ok to switch. He didn't hesitate even though he wanted to work the Magellan 5 hour.  He saw the need and took care of it.  

          Tyler, all around great guy.

      Mason had his staff and was ready to deliver a quality mission. Congratulations Mason on your first successful private mission as a new flight director.

     Now as I stated at the start of this post, Saturday was also the day for an end.  Saturday was Connor Larsen's last private missions as a CMSC staff member.  I won't go into details about his leaving because he still has the Center's Leadership Camp to run this week so look for a Connor celebration in next week's Troubadour.  Today then, we celebrate Connor's last Saturday at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center.

Mr. Williamson

Connor speaking to his one of his last two private mission crews
Connor proud of his last summer mission, "Divided we Fall"
Connor's last group of private mission volunteers ensuring the mission would go without a hitch.

While the crew trained, Connor and a few of his Supervisors were enticed by Tabitha to try her two Cardiasian jello desserts create by her specifically for the CMSC's Leadership Camp

Channelling the Spirit of Aleta Clegg (my assistant at the Space Center and summer overnight camps cook) Tabitha created true masterpieces of unusual flavors nature never meant to go together.  I tired the myself and can attest to the fact that the campers will never forget Cardassian jello!     

Christa McAuliffe Space Center / Central Elementary School Construction Update.  July 29, 2019.

A couple times a week I drive by my old stomping grounds to track the construction of the new Central Elementary School and Christa McAuliffe Space Center. Take a look and see the progress. They say construction is ahead of schedule for an April 2020 grand opening!  

Christa McAuliffe Space Center Update

     Last week our staff celebrated the last Extended Camp of the summer with some specialty cakes representing the three summer stories. You can see by the camper survey scores that these are some of the favorite camps to attend.
     The hectic events of these camps, especially this last one, are far too many to list. To give you an idea of the dedication and talents involved in telling a 10.5 hour mission it involves: 5 staff, 16 volunteer actors and scene specialists, dozens and dozens of cookies, soda, endless costume changes, a few meltdowns followed by encouragement from friends, and of course a bit of Space Center Magic.

James Porter

James Porter on BYU Radio

     Space Center Director James Porter had a chance to speak with BYU Radio host Rachel Wadham about the Space Center experience and how the planetarium will be such an important educational tool as the CMSC creates wonderment with Utah's students. 
      Looking up at the sky on a clear night can be a magnificent experience. There are millions of unknown stars and planets that are just waiting to be explored. Many children are excited to make those discoveries, but may not have access to resources that help them learn deeply about space. Today we have James Porter from the Christa McAuliffe space center in the studio, whose on a mission to change that. 
You can listen to the interview using the link.  Link to the radio interview.

Imaginarium Theater
The Best Videoettes from Around the World Edited for a Gentler Audience

Sunday, July 28, 2019

A Student's Dream Come True! What it was Like Seeing the Voyager's Bridge for the First Time

     One of the most satisfying benefits I had as the director of the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center for 23 years was seating field trip students on the Voyager bridge.  I heard all their comments as they ascend the spiral staircase and saw the bridge for the first time. I wish I kept of record of everything I heard. So many comments brought a smile to my face and I'd make a point to write what I heard down ..... only to forget a few minutes later. 

     Out of everything I heard over the years, one sixth grader's comment found a resting place in the chaos of my thoughts. I want to share it with you.
     "Oh my Gosh...... Oh my Gosh," he exclaimed as he slowly came up the stairs. His head turned from side to side taking in every aspect of the bridge. I was concerned that he would trip on the steps. He wasn't looking where his feet were going. The eye candy of the set was too much for his 11 year old nervous system.

     "Oh my Gosh....... Oh my Gosh," he exclaimed as he stumbled right past me into the center of the bridge. I had my hand out to take his boarding pass but he didn't notice. Who was I anyway - some person?
     "Oh my Gosh...... Oh my Gosh," he exclaimed as he centered himself under the 1/2 sphere on the ceiling and turned slowly - his arms semi-outstretched, resembling a pilgrim before the statue of his revered saint. I walked in front of him and asked for his boarding pass. He looked at me with a puzzled look on his face.
     "Your boarding pass," I asked.

     "Oh my Gosh....... Oh my Gosh," he exclaimed as he held it in the general direction of my hand. I took it from him. I looked at it. Written under his name was his position, right wing power. I took him by the shoulders and pointed him in the right direction.
     "You are in the last chair of this row," I said gently while pushing him toward the right wing knowing he needed the extra energy to get his legs to move. He got half way to his chair and stopped. He turned toward me and spoke with a religious fever rarely heard even in testimony meeting.

     "I want you to know that this is what I've dreamed about my whole life! I've finally made it! I'm on a Starship! OH MY GOSH!"
     Although reactions to the Space Center are rarely that emotional, 99% of first timers ascending the spiral stairs were very excited and a bit overwhelmed by what they saw. Can you believe that of all places on the Earth, in the middle of Pleasant Grove, not Las Vegas, not Orlando, not New York City, London, or Los Angeles there were six starships ready to take children on edventures in the universe of wonder.
     Sometimes the magic of our Space EdVenture centers wears thin for those of us that see it daily. I find myself looking for and seeing the imperfections. I find myself on a quest to find ways to improve our program at Renaissance Academy and at times become disillusioned when the obstacles of money and talent act as mountainous speed bumps in the road. At those times I reflect on my memory of students coming up the spiral stairs for the first time. I shake my head to clear my thoughts and then, once again, as in the beginning - I see the forest despite the trees.

Mr. Williamson

Imaginarium Theater
The Best Videoettes From Around the World Edited for a Gentler Audience.