Military Children Win Scholarships to Space Camp
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
ATLANTA, Jul. 8, 2005 The Military Child Education Coalition is sending 15 children from military families to the U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., this year.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Don Jones, a member of the Military Child Education Coalition board of directors, tells conferees at the coalition's annual conference that 160 children of military parents applied for the Bernard Curtis Brown II Memorial Space Camp Scholarship and that MCEC had enough money to send 15 of them to the camp. Photo by Rudi Williams
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
When MCEC started the Bernard Curtis Brown II Memorial Space Camp scholarship award four years ago, there was only enough money to send one student to the camp.
"This year we had 160 applicants, and we selected 15 of them," said retired Army Lt. Gen. Don Jones, a member of the coalition's board of directors. Jones was speaking to more than 550 attendees at MCEC's 7th annual conference here recently. "The first year we sent one; the second year we sent five; the third year we sent 11; and this year, thanks to our generous donors, we're sending 15."
Space Camp students who receive the scholarships are evenly divided from grades six through nine. There are six students from the Air Force: eighth grader Cody Anderson from Shiloh, Ill.; sixth grader Alexandria Nicole Berry and seventh grader Lauren Sepp from Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.; sixth grader Clayton Black and ninth grader Stacy Webb from Germany; and eighth grader Michael S. Sanders Jr. from Japan.
The four Coast Guard students are: ninth grader Madison T. Barre of Kodiak, Alaska; ninth grader William Grace Jr. of Owls Head, Maine; seventh grader David Hertenstein of Astoria, Ore.; and sixth grader Jennifer Rensink of Mobile, Ala.
The four Army recipients are: eighth grader Rayleen Lewis of Grovetown, Ga.; ninth grader Marc Loffert from Germany; sixth grader Cullen S. Moriarty from Fort Bragg, N.C.; and sixth grader Patrick Rounds from South Korea.
The Navy winner is seventh grader Kathrina M. Orozco from Japan.
Talking about the quality of the scholarship recipients, Jones said 14 of the 15 were honor students; many of them had 4.0 grade point averages and were in advanced classes. Twelve of them said math and science are their favorite subjects. Six of them want to be pilots. Eight want to work at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Three of them want to attend a service academy.
Six of them are Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. Ten of them had participated in sporting activities, and many of them had participated in about five sporting events. Eight were in band or some form of music. Four were student council members.
"We had individuals who participated in food drives for the homeless, and some who are members of the Civil Air Patrol and some who are Red Cross volunteers," Jones noted.
"A 13-year-old boy said, 'My main goal in life is to be a good role model for my 1-year-old brother,'" Jones said. "I don't know what you were doing when you were 13, but I wasn't overly concerned about being a role model at that time. So that was unusual."
The scholarship was named for Bernard Brown II, the 11-year-old son of Chief Petty Officer Bernard Brown. Bernard "had been selected to go to California by the National Science Foundation to attend a science conference," Jones said. "Unfortunately, on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, he boarded the plane at Reagan National Airport that was flown into the Pentagon.
"It was very unfortunate that this young man lost his life, but we thought he should not lose his life in vain," Jones continued.
He explained that the scholarship allows young people from all services, both active duty and the activated Guard and Reserve units, an opportunity to present an essay to MCEC telling why they would like to go to space camp.
"They talk about patriotism, community service, their future goals and what they will do with the information that they learn while at space camp," Jones noted. "If you could reads some of the letter from these young people you could not help but to be impressed. We promote this as a life-altering experience, and it truly is."
In space camp, students get an opportunity to meet and interact with astronauts, people who have actually been in space, Jones said.
"They have a chance to study science projects and physics that are used in putting people in space," he continued. "They also have a chance to participate and operate space simulators where they can feel weightlessness. It's a combination of meeting people, seeing science and technology, and experiencing actual feelings that astronauts sometimes feel when they're in a space flight.
"I'd like to encourage people to support the project, the more support we have, the more kids we can impact," Jones said.