What would a Space Education Center school be like if one were built as part of a new Space Center? What is the school's curriculum? How would simulation (both starship and classroom simulations) tie into the curriculum and the day to day operations of the school? What grades would the school service?
What would I build if I could build my dream Space Center School?
I'll let you in on my thought processes. I pull from the right side of my brain and imagine the school in my mind. I walk in while it is in session. I go to the cafeteria, find an empty table, and sit back and watch the teachers, students and staff in action. I listen to what they are saying. I look at their textbooks. I carefully observe. If I see something in my imaginings that doesn't work, I grab a mental eraser, erase the scene and imagine another; and another if necessary, and then another and another until the scene blends well and works with everything around it.
So, come along with me into my school yet to be. May I introduce you to the staff and students of Farpoint Academy, a Space Center middle and high school (grades 6 to 12)?
"Attention, the Voyager will depart Farpoint Station at 13:00 hours. All crew must report to Briefing Room 4 to receive orders at 12:30. That is all."
"Yes, the Voyager got the first Level 2 !" a voice shouted from a table in the corner of Farpoint Academy's cafeteria. Ian Strong stood up with both arms raised overhead. It was obvious he was both surprised and excited to take his crew and ship on the first level 2 mission of the academic year. Several of the other students seated in the lunchroom clapped for their classmates. A few of the lower classmen gave them a standing ovation.
"Good work Ian," Emily Morgan said from a nearby table. "You got the first Level 2. I'll get the next." Emily was the captain of the academy's Odyssey team. The Voyager and Odyssey teams tied in performance and academic points in the school year's Level 1 mission which ran from September to the middle of November. The school's other twenty five teams all scored at least one death and several performance and academic demerits. The Phoenix team came in last place. It's sixth grade crew died seventeen times before finishing their level one mission at the beginning of November.
"Hurry up and finish. I want to go over some new ideas on crew assignments in the library," Ian said to his fellow command officers seated around him. The Voyager Command team usually ate lunch together.
"I just sat down," Amanda Harding replied. She picked up her lettuce wrap and shoved half of it in her mouth. Feminine was not a word someone would use to describe the Voyager's Chief Engineer. She wore her clothes loose to cover the few extra pounds she gained while working at JCW's in American Fork during the summer break.
Amanda barely passed the physical education test required of all students before launching on the Level 1 missions. She failed the exam the first time she took it, meaning Ian had to formally request a new Voyager Chief Engineer from the Starbase Admiral. Several students submitted their resumes. It was a school wide badge of distinction to be a crew member of one of the school's elite flight teams. With Ian Strong as Captain, everyone knew the Voyager had an excellent chance of being the Top Ship of the 2016/17 school year.
Amanda had one week to appeal her disqualification before another classmate was given her position. The Academy's PE teacher worked with her after school to help her reach her weight and strength goals. The extra effort worked. She passed the exam with one pound and two sit ups to spare.
"My friend's mom said she heard Admiral Schuler talking to Mr. Williamson in the faculty room. They were talking about the mission. Mr. Williamson told the Admiral he was sure this new mission was one of his best. He said no one would pass without at least three deaths. He said they were pre-written into the mission." Connor leaned back into his chair with a rather proud look on his face for having delivered that juicy piece of intelligence.
"Well, the Voyager made it through the level one mission without dying," Ian replied while dipping several french fries into a pool of fry sauce on his plate.
"We almost died while we were beaming people up from Perikoi," Miranda Philips jumped into the conversation. Miranda was the Voyager's First Officer. She and Ian worked well together. She was a junior, Ian a senior. She had plans on making the Voyager as her own after Ian graduated. She knew she had to do well in this year's simulations to even be considered.
"Well we didn't. My improved half shields held," Amanda said while glancing down at her empty lunch tray. The frown on her face meant she was still hungry. "Are you gonna eat your cookie?" she reached over the table to take the Connor's cookie.
"You barely made weight and no you can't." Connor quickly grabbed he cookie and put it on his lap for safe keeping
"You pushed those fusion reactors to the limits. We almost melted down," Ian reminded her.
"Well we didn't," Amanda replied while tapping her index finger next to her temple. "I did the math and knew the containment field would hold."
"OK, you're good at math. That's why you're my Chief Engineer."
"Are you sure that's the only reason?" Amanda licked her lips. "Admit it, I'm a good kisser."
Everyone at the table laughed. "You two have something to confess?" Miranda asked.
The 11:30 bell rang. "Let's go." Ian let the comment drop. He jumped up from his chair. He had his backpack in one hand and his lunch tray in the other and walked toward the washroom window.
"I'm tutoring a 7th grader in the math lab. I'll meet you in the library at 12." Connor stood up, gathered his things and exited the lunchroom through the west doors. The rest of the Voyager Command Crew made their way to the library.
Farpoint Academy's Library