Visit SpaceCampUtah.org to learn more about the Space Education Centers in Utah. Visit SpaceGuard.org and ProjectVoyager.org for information on joining a simulator based school space and science club.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Christmas Greeting from the Director


Merry Christmas Staff and Volunteers,

This Christmas finds our staff, retired staff, and volunteers spread out from one end of the nation to the other. Rest assured that the Admiral of the Space Center is here in Pleasant Grove minding the base. Our simulators are enjoying a well-needed rest. Each one parked, snoozing, and waiting to be woken by a flight director at the beginning of the `Long Stretch' to Spring Vacation.

This 'Long, Dreaded, Stretch', is the time of the school year only understood by the educational community and students. This desert of time runs from January to April. Its landscape is marked by a few, one-day holidays and nothing else. Teachers survive the 'Long Stretch' by rationing their sanity and patience into weekly packages.

Each Monday one parcel of sanity is opened and inserted into the appropriate mental slot. By Wednesday, students begin sensing the supply is waning. This is usually demonstrated by the teacher's quivering lip and a seemingly innocent twitch over the left eye - a warning sign that something dark and sinister is bubbling in a dark place.

Thursday is the bleakest day. It marks the end of the teacher's working supply of patience. This is the day teachers earn their notorious reputation by verbally striking out at children with swords of satiric comment and bullets of snide and degrading remarks describing their student's mental abilities. Thursday finds teachers sticking pins into the pictures of their 'deserving' students on 'The Bulletin Board' kept hidden from public view in most faculty rooms. At the beginning of each school year the Board is cursed by a practitioner of the Voodoo arts. The ritual begins with hours of chanting accompanied by shaking rattles. This is followed by the sacrificing of a chicken (recently modified by replacing a real chicken with a 9 piece McNuggets from McDonalds to satisfy the animal rights advocates in the educational community. Although not as effective, it is less messy). The Board is ready for use once it is properly prepared.


On Thursdays one is reminded of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem as you watch teachers gaze at the hundreds of pictures on the Board. The chanting, the rocking, the occasional weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth are all there. Many of you have wondered why you suddenly
take sick at school. Now you understand. I could tell you more but I'm taking a calculated risk writing what I've written.

Friday's wisps of sanity are fueled by fumes only. The Fumes of Patience have a calming effect on teachers when combined with warm thoughts of a weekend. I know the long stretch from January to May is hard on students also. Best thing to do is keep a positive attitude and work hard. When you are working hard the time goes faster.

Seriously, I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. It has been a pleasure working with the finest young adults in Utah Valley this past year. I'm honored that you consider the Space Center worthy of your valuable time. I wish I could give each of you a gift but we have simulators to build and things to repair. Instead you have my thanks and, upon request, a good missionary handshake. Enjoy this holiday season with family and friends and be all the more ready to come back. There are thousands of children waiting anxiously for their upcoming missions and you make it happen!


Merry Christmas Friends,
Mr. Williamson
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