The Honeywell Educators at Space Academy was a unique opportunity and I knew going into it that it could change me for life. From the time I arrived in Huntsville, the people I met were full of smiles and eager anticipation. My shyness wore off as I found myself walking up to strangers and holding my hand out.
By the time I met the other fifteen members of Team Destiny, our group for the week, I felt as though I had instantly made friends. We first earned one another’s trust from our first experience in Area 51, an outdoor team-building adventure. Further solidifying ourselves as one by practicing various simulations, from escaping an underwater plane crash to hours-long shuttle missions, Team Destiny was there to achieve great things. Our constant cheering for one another was as normal as our complaint about the Alabama summer humidity!
Representing seven countries, our team struggled through obstacles, encouraged each other to “go for it!”, and shared teaching practices throughout the week. Our last night together was spent in the dorm lobby, drinking Turkish coffee, discussing new ideas for our classrooms, and reflecting on the road ahead.
That road is one we will never forget. We may have come from different religions, backgrounds, and teaching styles, but I know that we learned as much from one another as we learned from the engaging workshops, presentations, and simulations at Honeywell Educators at Space Academy. For that, I am extremely grateful to my team, the staff, and Honeywell for this life-changing experience.
What will I bring back to my classroom this coming school year? I will share my new-found enthusiasm for aerospace science and show my students how important it is to explore areas far from home. The Honeywell Educators at Space Academy provided the tools and confidence that I need to do this. Launching rockets, testing ablative shielding, and researching Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) are just some of the activities I can’t wait to experience with my students.
I made friends that week. Friends for life. We will continue to connect on social media and I know our new attitudes and knowledge will be passed along to our families, friends, co-workers, and students.
Featured Author: Jeff Herold
Jeff Herold is a STEM Instructor at a middle school in Phoenix, AZ. He holds many honors, including Aerospace Teacher of the Year.