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Thursday, October 11, 2012

First Impressions of the Space Center. Old Space Center Photos. And The Imaginarium.

March 1997
Mr. Williamson (Yep, that's a younger and handsomer me ) sitting in the Flight Director's Chair
 in the Voyager Control Room.
From this chair, I ruled the Universe!

Hello Troops,

Welcome back to The Troubadour, the online home for staff, volunteers and friends of the Space Education Center.  The Space Center is physically closed right now, but our online mission continues here in The Troubadour.  This blog is the place where we can get together, share news and memories and recharge our imaginations in the Imaginarium.  Thank you for taking a few minutes and keeping in touch.

I get emails amost daily from teachers asking for news on the Space Center's renovation.  This email arrived yesterday: 
I was wondering if you are able to schedule field trips for the Space Center yet.  My students will be SOOOOOO disappointed if they cannot go their 6th grade year.  Our school does not take the 5th grade students so this is their only chance as a student to go.  I really hope we are able to take them.

Sometimes I forget how important the Space Center experience is to many people in our community. Let's not forget how excited the kids are when getting off their buses.  Let's not forget their screams as they 'transport' up to the Voyager.  Let's not forget the panic in their voices as they face impossible odds during their missions.  Let's not forget the loud cheers which end most Space Center missions.  Let's not forget how much they love our Starlab planetarium.  And let's not forget how good our Space Center teachers are in the science classroom.

There is an urgency in this teacher's email.  She expresses the sadness thousands of our students are experiencing when they are told they may not get their Space Center field trip this year.

Let me reassure everyone that the Alpine School District is committed to keep the Space Center open. Improving the Space Center to meet all current building codes will cost money and take time.  We wait patiently knowing something better will come.  

Posts from the Past.  
Posts from the Space Center's first blog.  

This post was written by Allan Stewart.  Allan programmed the Voyager's current bridge controls in 1999/2000.  Allan writes about his first field trip to the Space Center in this post. 

First Posted on May 10, 2000

Ah! Marvelous Space Center which keeps me coming back for more...

I can't remember very many details from my first mission at the Space Center, but I do remember that it was a field trip with my school. I think that I was in 6th grade and this was before Cascade Elementary took their 5th graders. Anyway, I believe that the mission was the original Supernova mission. Even though we did not finish the mission, I was hooked. I loved the Space Center!

I can remember my first overnighter was on the original Canada mission. (I put original to distinguish the missions from the reincarnated ones that now prevail, and to let you know that it was quite some time ago.) In my mind, this mission immortalized the Space Center. It had everything. The Zywacowsky (I have no idea how to really spell it, it is hard enough to pronounce the first time...) became a thing of legend.

In any case, the number one impression that the Space Center made on me was this: realism. Whenever I went on a mission at the Center, I always felt like it was real. Even though at the back of my mind I knew that it was not, I could not help being drawn into the story.

Everything was real, from Warp Travel to the Slime Devil! I can remember being very frightened when that Slime Devil would show up. I can also remember feeling the anxiety of the ship being under attack. And when we came to the end, I could not help but feel proud of our accompishments. I can not describe to you how real it felt. Everything at the Space Center was just better than real life.

Much later, when I was talking about this with Brian Hawkins, he told me of a similar experience. He said that on one mission he went on, the entire crew piled into Sickbay to watch a movie. Even though they were uncomfortable, it was worth it just because they were at the Space Center.

I hope that as a staff member, I have helped others experience the intense feeling of reality on missions. I believe that feeling is the most important thing. More important than the mission, the
ship, the controls, or anything. If it is not real to you, then we have failed. By making it feel real, you are able to learn more about yourself and about life than you could ever learn in a classroom or lecture. My being in a simulated situation where you think it is real, the decisions you make really stand out. In reflection, I have learned a great deal about myself from what I did at the Space Center: from my fears, to the decisions I made, to what I thought at certain points of the mission.

In conclusion, it is my desire that everyone who comes to the Space Center can get involved with the role-playing aspect and take home with them memories that they will never forget.

Allan "As real as it gets!" Stewart

This post was written by one of our young, 6th grade volunteers on his first impressions of the Space Center.  I left the spelling and grammar untouched.

First Posted on May 11, 2000

My first impression By:Matthew Van Uitert

I first heard about the Space Center in third grade when my sister went with her class. I was so excited that I would get to go.  And then I found out that my school had stopped sending groups there because of behavior problems. So then one day I went to Lindon Elementary and the second after the bell rang our teacher said, "I know your all wondering and the answer is yes we get to go to the Space Center." The class erupted in celebration until we got quiet again.

When we did come I found out all the stories that my sister told me were true. I was on the voyager and the first mission I did was Green Peace. I decide since I couldn't be captain that I wanted to fly the darn thing. Since I had read a lot of books were ensigns valued flight control on their first mission. We survived although are captain suffered, and I quote "Severe Mental Retardation" close quote. It was a knight of magic and the thing that made it the best was the actors,(that brought the joy of it all) and the staff that made me feel important (even though I was only in 5th grade).
So I hope everyone that reads this makes sure that they make everyone feel important. (even those little people who sometimes make your life miserable, and the people who you feel sorry for because of their job namely the cave slave on overighter mornings)
Well I hope you all enjoyed this Bye.
Photos from Space Center Past

Mrs. Houston took pictures at the Space Center over the years.   Today I'm posting three more of her pictures.  Enjoy.....

This is a photo of one of the Space Center's all time top volunteers.  Randy Jepperson started working at the Space Center in the 5th Grade.  He stay with us through junior high and the start of high school.

Randy is dressed as a Romulan ambassador in this photo taken in 1997.  Randy is standing in the Briefing Room in front of my desk.

School Year 1994

Mrs. Houston (left) is standing next to Melodie.  Melodie taught the field trip science lessons in 1994. Mrs. Houston worked in the Voyager simulator.  They are standing at the back of the Briefing Room where the Odyssey simulator is today.  In 1994, the Space Center consisted of the Voyager and the Briefing Room.  We didn't have the Odyssey, Galileo, Magellan, Phoenix or the Discovery Room.   

We took two classes per day on field trips.  One class was in the Voyager and the other class was in the Briefing Room.  Imagine running the Voyager with 25 to 30 students!  We crammed as many as we could on the Bridge.  Mrs. Houston took the rest and did first aid training etc down in the Galley.  It was crazy.  I can't believe we pulled it off.  Things are sooo much better today.   

The cake says "Goodbye Admiral".  This picture was taken at Dave Wall's goodbye party in the Briefing Room in 1993.  Dave worked with Mrs. Houston in the Voyager that school year. The staff bunk beds can be seen behind Dave.  They were built into the wall where the Phoenix sits today. 
Dave Wall was the person who designed, built and ran the original Odyssey.
So many things have changed at the Space Center over the last 22 years.  Expect more changes ahead. An organization must change to stay ahead of the times - even organizations set in the 23rd century!

The Imaginarium

Creativity:  C
Generic Store rip offs of Mt. Dew and Dr. Pepper.
Dr. Perky?  Come on.

I remember learning this as a child.

One of my new wishes would be to rename 400 East (the street in front of the Space Center) to 
Unexpected Road.  Who in their right mind would ever expect to find one of Earth's happiest 
places on 400 East in Pleasant Grove, Utah?  

Our new address would then be:

The Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center
Unexpected Road
Pleasant Grove, UT    84062 

Do it with a straight face, then walk away leaving them to think what they may.

Creativity: A

I suspect many of The Troubadour's readers are intelligent.  I picture you as the smart one in the middle.  It's an old teacher's trick.  The teacher tells the class to work in groups of three.  She organizes the groups by putting a Smarty with a Sleepy and a Me Me.  The Smarty is to corral the others and teach the lesson the teacher doesn't want to teach.  We all know what usually happens.  This is why I'm not totally sold on 'group learning'.  


The good ship Voyager is in a real pickle.

A new sign for the Space Center.

Caught you!
Creativity: A

Exactly the way a politician would say it.

Imagination in Advertising:  A

Creativity:  A

Perfect for your doomsayers (and every family has them) this holiday season.
Please be sure to have them open your gift before Dec. 23 - the day the Earth is 
to come to an end - according to the Mayans!

The kinds of things that should be on political buttons.

Enjoy your Fall Vacation!

Mr. Williamson

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