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

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Honor's Night at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center: The Clans Gathered. Many Honors Were Given. No Tears Shed But Smiles Were Plenty. Imaginarium Theater

     And just like that, the summer was gone.  The starships at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center did their duty ferrying hundreds of 10 to 15 year olds on adventures from one sphere of space time to another, across the vast galactic realms, facing nearly impossible adversaries brought to life in living color by the talented staff and volunteers.

     Tradition calls for the gathering of tribes to celebrate the season's achievements. And so the call went forth calling all chieftains and clans to the gathering place to honor those who found glory in story and to say farewell to others who heard the siren's call and set sail into the ocean of possibilities. 

Shall we begin?

Honors Night: The Clans Gather            

   The call to assemble came shortly after 7:00 P.M. by Chieftain Porter.  Most clansman sat with their kin. The log nearest the fire was by tradition held for the elders, namely myself and Jade of the MacHansens.  

    The first item for discussion was general cleanliness.  "Aye, let there be a clean campsite for a nod’s as guid as a wink tae a blind horse," Chieftain Porter emphasized.  Most were quick to understand the remarks were steered toward the barbarians of Icewind Dale who are not remembered for knowing that place for everything.  
     Speaking of the Barbarians of Icewind Dale, the next topic for the gathering was personal cleanliness.  

     "Are ye saying we foul the wind?" said the Icewind Chief, who, may it be said, sat mysteriously alone. "Yer bum's oot the wind with that remark!"  
     Chieftain Porter thought a moment before replying, "Look abut ye man - a lesson is ta be learned."  

     Clan growth was highlighted. Volunteer numbers hit the century mark and those on staff are at 33.  

     The camps for the wee bairns was pure dead brilliant!  Soon the bairns will be properly trained to deal with the English.  

    Matthew of the northern MacRicks and his braw engineers were celebrated.  They made a gadget for the Galileo which supposedly can turn water into wine. It is also good at re-inverting the bionic electro-ceramic bio-containers, and detecting anomolous power signatures in the tantulum containment core booster.  

Galileo Honors
     Brylee of the Bally MacPerrys awarded Kayla and Aiden their Galileo pass pins.  

Phoenix Honors
     Silver of the Strathclyde MacPerrys was quick to shake the hands of Jackson, Michael, and Brylee on the occasion of their receiving the Phoenix pass pin.  

Odyssey Honors
    Mitch, the new Odyssey chief, brought Kayla back to the floor for the presenting of the Odyssey pass pin.  

Magellan Honors
     Tyler, the new Magellan chief, presented his picks for the Magellan pass pins: Aiden, Noah, Michael, and Amberly.  

Aiden, Jackson, Kayla, Micah, Michael, and Rachel. Jon at the front
Missing is Emily W.

Cassini Honors
     Jon, of the Highland MacParkers, was rumored to be lookin a bit peely-wally in the head for delivering so many to the floor for their Cassini pass pins.  
     "Ma hied's mince," said one wee bairn behind me, "How's this possible."  
     "Keep yer head," I answered back.  "Each one is well deserved. That Jon knows how to steer a cart across a balley tempest."  And with that said, the matter was dropped.

Apprentice (100 volunteer hours)
          Called to the floor to receive their Apprentice patches were Addison P., Alex R., Amberly P., Grace M., Micah C., Mo' W.,  Nathaniel G., Porter C., Rachel J., and Sterling D. 

5 Years of Service Award 

     Micah C., and Jeff G., both were awarded their 5 year recognition at the gathering.  Jeff wasn't in attendance. Micah of the Shetland MacCleggs was and took the hand of Chieftain Porter in gratitude.  Micah was asked to make a wee speech.  He did and did himself proud.  There were no slurrings and no cussing which all know is common among the MacCleggs. 

The Starfighters (2 years volunteering)

     A Starfighter, what every wee bairn wants to be when they grow up.  Ten reached that level in volunteer service over the last several months and were honored at the gathering. 

The Hitchhikers 
     While not a flattering name, it is an honor nevertheless. These four have gone above and beyond in volunteer service and hours and reach Hitchhiker status.  As Chieftain Porter said, "The Space Center would be nothing without the volunteers."  The gathering thanked them for their service.   

Defender of the Universe
     What a thing to put on Jackson's cv, "Defender of the Universe".  What future university or employer could let his resume pass without notice?  
     "So Jackson, I see that you are a Defender of the Universe.  Please explain."  
     To which Jackson will reply, "Do you have an hour and a surviving sense of wonder?"
     Congratulations Jackson on your achievement!  And let it be said that the volunteer hours spent to receive this award do not include the many many many many many hours he spent on trains and busses to get to the Space Center.  What a kid!

Time Lord
     The gathering of the clans sat in reverent silence for JJ as his tribute played across the planetarium screen.  He started as a wee bairn ten years ago just barely able to lift a battle axe and now commands starships.  
     I've had the pleasure to work alongside JJ in the Cassini. His imagination and drive to innovate and improve the work we do at the Space Center is impressive and exhausting. Right now we're teaching him this simple phrase: "Let's think this through."  :)
     JJ, you keep thinking outside the box:  "Innovate, Improve, or get out the way" is his slogan of the day.  Congratulations JJ. 

     Aiden received his Supervisor Blues at Honor's Night as a Mentor. 

New Trainees
     Addison and Micah are both inducted into the Trainees, meaning they've impressed the Center's Set Directors with their talent to the point where they will be taken under someone's wing and trained in the Ways of the Warrior.  
     And if you're wondering, Micah did his best to steal all the thunder at the gathering.  

New Set Directors
     There were two new set directors named at Honor's Night. Their appointment deserves a separate post so look for that next week.  

Summer's Lord of the Votes

Jackson, Amberly, and Michael

     What grand titles for the summer's Lord of the Votes winners.  Here they are, the best of the best at smoozing up to the campers with things like, "Hey lookin good, are you loosing weight?" and "Hey, between you and me, we all think you're the best on the crew.  Keep that between us - ok."  
     In reality, they got top votes for being good at what they do, tending to the campers and playing great acting rolls.  Congratulations!  

Top Flight Director for the Summer
    Scott, I surrender any hope I may have now, and in the future of ever beating you at Top Flight Director. You are the one, the man, the Supremo of Supremos, the Keeper of the Mic, the Voice of Voices, the true Troubadour! 
     There, I said it. Scott can now fade into the sunset a happy man.......... Congratulations Scott; the honor is well deserved. You are truly gifted in the control room.  Come watch Scott fly the Phoenix if you want to see a master craftsman at work.    

The Best Summer Story
     I wrote both the USS Canada and The Fugitive so I'm happy to see the Fugitive in 2nd place.  Hey, all the summer missions did great - just look at the point spread.  It isn't that much. 
     Let us all congratulate the Odyssey on Plight of Thieves.  I've not see the mission but it must be fantastic! 

Mitch, Lindsey, and Nolan.  Absent is Natalie.
The Odyssey's Flight Directing Staff

Top Simulator

Mitch, Hayden, and Audrey.  Absent; Scott
The Phoenix Staff

Top Ship for the Summer Camp Season
     It couldn't go to a better ship.  The Phoenix has truly found its place in the Space Center's history book.  Congratulations Silver (Set Director) and staff for an outstanding job in leading the way. Top simulator and Top Flight Director, the perfect combination.  
     Just remember this old saying, "Uneasy is the head that wears the crown."  There are rumors afloat that clandestine meetings are being held in dark alleyways and unsavory pubs regarding next summer's missions.  Mind you, just rumors.  

Final Words from the Chieftain to the Clans
     The evening ended with a few wee words from the Chieftain, James MacPorter.  "Look ye at comparisons from the last year to this. What a bonnie summer its been. Now put that in yer bonnet as ye take to the road and remember to haste ye back.  The wind is blowing words of a busy school year so yer strong arm and back are needed.  Now go and don't dawdle too long, yer rides may be waitin."  
     And with that the gathering dismissed.  

Mr. Williamson's Imaginarium Theater
The Best Videos From Around the World Edited for a Gentler Audience

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Welcome to Another School Year: I'm Celebrating the Start of My 40th Year in Education. A New Soon to Be Space Center Family. Imaginarium Theater.

My first sixth grade class.  These Youngsters are around 51 years old this year

       Has it been 40 years?  Where has the time gone?  My 40th sixth grade class appeared on my classroom doorstep last Tuesday.  There are 93 of them. They arrived dressed in their school uniforms and ready to learn.  I'll teach all of them math and half of them history (the non-Chinese DLI students).

Learning about the middle ages.  1983-1984

     I started my career in 1983 at Central Elementary School in Pleasant Grove, the same school where I student taught the school year before with Mr. Mike Thompson.  I was assigned to student teach in Springville but BYU made a clerical error and assigned two teachers to that position.  They called me in and asked if I'd be willing to switch to Central School in Pleasant Grove.  It was my choice. I decided to go with Central.  The rest is history. 

Recording a Reader's Theater. 1983-1984

     I taught 6th grade from 1983 to 1990.  In 1990 I opened the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center. I directed the Space Center for 23 years before retiring from the Alpine School District in 2013.  I continued to teach 6th grade math during the 23 years I directed the Space Center.  My math class started daily at 9:00 A.M. and ended in time to start the Space Center field trip. 

Field Day at Central.  1983-1984

     Sixth graders haven't changed too much over the years but I have, as one would expect having arrived at my 64th trip around the sun last June.  I can still put in the long days required of a teacher but my legs sure feel it at the end of the day. 

Field Trip to Hogle Zoo. The Girls Loved Randy.

     I'm debating on whether or not to renew my teaching license at the end of this school year or slip away into the abyss.  I'm still enjoying the classroom so I'll see how I feel at the end of the year.  The kids keep you mentally sharp and active and I appreciate that.  

                                     Our Final Day and Final Class Photo.  May 1984

     I have a great 6th grade team. We are all older and share the same teaching philosophy so that is a big plus.  I've got a great classroom aide who keeps me focused when I drift away while performing an equation on the whiteboard. I'm at a great school that values unique and creative approaches to teaching so that is another big plus.  And finally, good students from good supporting families that appreciate a teacher with a dwindling crop of white hair. 

The Last Goodbye on the chalkboard

     Finally, I want to wish everyone a happy and productive school year wherever you are.  A new school year for many is a time of renewal and fresh starts.  Let's be successful together!  

Mr. Williamson   
Congratulations to Another Soon to Be Space Center Family

Jordan Smith and Brylee Perry

     One side benefit of volunteering and or working at the Space Center is the possibility of finding your one true love. It happened in the past and is happening now.  
     Congratulations to Jordan Smith and Brylee Perry who became engaged on August 10th. Jordan was the Phoenix Set Director until he retired from Starfleet several months ago and took a civilian job on Earth.  Brylee is the Galileo's current Set Director.  She assures Jordan that she will be able to arrange prolonged visits to Earth on a regular basis.  

Imaginarium Theater

The Week's Best Videos From Around the World Edited for a Gentler Audience

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Apollo Rising, A New Mr. Williamson Mission Told for the First Time. My Classroom is Ready for my 40th Year in Education. New are Trained as the Old Leave. Imaginarium Theater.


August 6, 2022
     My new mission Apollo Rising was told for the first time to the public on August 6. It joins the Space EdVenture's mission library along with my other missions currently being told at various space centers:  Intolerance, Children of Perikoi, Cry in the Dark, Canada, Fugitive, Supernova, Midnight Rescue, etc.  Apollo Rising was previously flown the day before to The Space Place's staff and volunteers.  Bracken Funk and I ran the test mission on the Friday.  Bracken Funk ran the mission on Saturday to the public group.  The mission went flawlessly, which is unusual for the first couple tellings of a new mission. 
The First Public Group to do Apollo Rising
      Of course I'd like to tell you about the mission but considering some of you may fly the mission on the Starship Voyager in the future, I'll not way a word.  Suffice to say the group's post mission debriefing was positive. They enjoyed the mission. 

The Voyager Apollo Rising Staff
Megan, Bracken, Dylan, Kaden, David, and Sawyer

     Go to to book a group mission and do Apollo Rising. We would love to have you.

My Classroom at Renaissance Academy is Set Up For Another Year of 6th Grade and Young Astronauts and Voyager Clubs 

     Yes it was a pain to move classrooms but it is done and I'm all set up in Renaissance Academy's middle school building. Room 304 is my new home away from home.  It is pretty much a copy of my other room minus the great view I use to have on the second floor. My new view is the playground and a large vacant piece of weed infested land which will soon be converted into basketball courts.  
     I'll have over 90 sixth graders in my math and history classes.  That breaks down to 4 math periods and two history periods with one prep period at the end of the day.  I met several of my new students at the Back to School Open House last Thursday.  They look tanned, happy, and as excited to return to school as an 11 year old can be.
     My old 'Love Me' wall is back behind my desk. The space center old timers know what I'm talking about.  
     School starts Tuesday.  I'm back in the saddle again for my 40th Year in Education!

Training New Staff.  Old Ones Leave and New Ones Come.  

Megan Teaching Mark and Jackson the Fine Art
of the IIFX Station

     Megan Warner is Bracken Funk's favorite IIfx (2nd chair flight control station) person and he will tell you so if you ask.
She runs excellent 2nd stories, has good communication characters, and has the uncanny ability to read his mind during a mission.  Now all we have to do at The Space Place is get all that knowledge out of Megan's head and into the heads of Mark and Jackson, two Voyager supervisors.  Megan can't be to all the Voyager's missions, especially when the Young Astronaut and Voyager Clubs start again in September.  She has her real job that keeps her busy enough.  And with Livy Charles gone, the Voyager needs a few more excellent IIfxers.       Working at Utah County's space centers takes skill and practice; lots of practice.  It is an art passed down through the generations by direct training and example.  Both Mark and Jackson will do well; they've proven that from their many years of volunteering and staffing our missions.

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

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Old Set Directors Never Die, They Just Fade Into the Abyss..... Goodbye Natalie and Connor. The Space Place Volunteers and Staff Fly the Magellan. Cassini Sickbay is Outfitted with New Equipment. Imaginarium Theater.

      Senior Flight Directors, staff, and abnormally long term volunteers whose service to the Space Center was considered exemplary, are eligible for post Space Center service care in The Gone Boldly Treatment Center for Retired Space Center Staff.  GBTC offers both outpatient and inpatient care.                    Residential services are reserved for those who find themselves confused, bewildered, challenged by reality, and most importantly - unreliable in the bathroom (brought on by holding it too long during prolonged battle scenes or elongated, multi character narratives - where the flight director engages in conversations with himself as another character; which introduces us to another common Flight Director malady - schizophrenia).

Natalie and Conner

     Joining the current long term residents are Natalie Anderson and Connor Larsen, both of whom retired from Space Center service this last week.  Natalie was the Odyssey's Set Director. Connor held the same position in the Magellan.  

     It is nice when our flight and set directors realize their need for additional rest and time to reflect on their rewarding (though not so profitable) careers in space service.  The Gone Boldly Treatment Center for Retired Space Center Staff offers that time to decompress and acclimatize back into civilian life.  

     I stopped by the Space Center to take a few photos of them in their control rooms before the Home's van arrived to carry them away.  

     I wanted to be sure to capture Natalie's last summer camp scores.  She took first place!  What a way to leave, when you are at your peak and have data to prove it despite what some may say :)  
     Natalie is a published author.  In the picture above you see her holding her book (the sales of which go towards her therapeutic care at the GBTC).      

     Natalie's Odyssey staff (and others) signed her book hoping their kind notes and signatures will spur her memory of the good times they shared.  Connor's Magellan staff (and others) did the same.  Connor isn't an author so a home made card did the trick.  Connor is a masterful organist who knows how to bring the spirit to both Catholic and Lutheran Sunday services. People travel from several blocks to hear him play in North Carolina (his school year home).  

Natalie's first flight as a certified Odyssey Flight Director
March 2015
Connor showing off his flight director skills on the original Magellan

Natalie and Connor as they looked in 2011   

     If you're ever in the area, please stop by the Gone Boldly Treatment Center for Retired Space Center Staff and visit Natalie and Conner. And while you're there, please stop in to visit the home's other long term guests who worked so hard to entertain and teach you over the years. The residents love seeing their former campers, volunteers, and staff. They'll love you even more if you'll sit patiently and listen to hours of mission stories long gone. Don't worry the time, they are always sedated before visiting hours. Part way into a story they'll nod off giving you a chance to quietly escape;  respectfully of course.

Volunteers and Staff from The Space Place at Renaissance Academy Fly the Magellan for the Extended Camp   

     "That mission was fantastic!" is the general consensus spoken by the many The Space Place staff who attended the CMSC's extended camp last week.  They made up half the crew of the Magellan.  Connor was the flight director. It was his last mission as a flight and set director.  The staff and volunteers made the mission fun and the away missions were "the best".  Thank you to the Magellan staff for doing such a good job. For most of them, the camp was their first introduction to the Space Center. They've heard me talking about it at Renaissance and they wanted to experience it for themselves.  

The Cassini's Sick Bay is Issued New Equipment from Starfleet Medical  

     Just in time for the school year field trip season, the Cassini received two new pieces of equipment from Starfleet Medical. Thank you to the Cassini's Chief Purser Jade Hansen for making the arrangements.  
     And in case you're wondering, that's a digital microscope above the computer and a "medicine" cabinet on the side wall. Smith's RX in Pleasant Grove supplied 20 medicine bottles to outfit the container. They will be filled with the latest in 23rd century pharmaceuticals (M&M's, Skittles, etc) - formulated to treat the major intergalactic ailments.       

Imaginarium Theater

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