Speaking as the founder of our form of simulator based experiential education, I want to wish the staff and volunteers of the Christa McAuliffe Space Center, The Space Place at Renaissance Academy, American Heritage Space Center, Telos Discovery Space Center, and The Lions Gate Space Center at Lakeview Academy along with our Voyagers, Young Astronauts, loyal Troubadours, and our good friends at InfiniD a very merry Christmas! And let's not forget to send our Season's Greetings to our great friends at Dream Flight Adventures. I know the many 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.
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 over the years. I'm honored that you consider the space centers worthy of your valuable time. Enjoy this holiday season with family and friends and be all the more ready to return to the trenches. There are thousands of children waiting anxiously for their upcoming missions and you make it happen!