Launching education on Space Coast

MERRITT ISLAND | In the heart of the Space Coast, Divine Mercy Catholic Academy (DMCA) fueled student interest in science, technology, religion and engineering with Space Day, Feb. 21. The children ate space food, worked out like astronauts, and experienced a simulated moonwalk without ever leaving campus. The vastness of space also opened their eyes to the wonder and power of God.

Principal Dave Parker said, “Current and former parents and alumni flock to our campus for this annual event. We have been fortunate to have some of the space industry’s top leaders provide keynote speeches as well as the many breakout sessions that our students attend throughout the day. Space Day gives our students a true sense of relevance to their education… this opportunity to connect with aerospace engineers and astronauts truly drives home the connection between our STEM education and the real world.”

Pre-k through 8th grade students worked hard to “train like an astronaut”, this year’s theme. “For our kids, Space Day is a celebration about what is special here on the Space Coast,” said Danielle Donnelly, co-chair of the event. “We get to live in one of the most exciting places in terms of all things in the realm of aeronautics. Even with living so close, some of these kids don’t get the chance to experience that first-hand.”

Students spent the day launching model rockets designed by real NASA engineers, took virtual tours of space, and even spent time with former shuttle commander Andy Allen who shared what it takes to thrive in space. Eighth-grader Alana noted, “I learned that simulations are very important for astronaut training. They would probably mess up a lot more in real life if they didn’t get this experience.” Carson, a second-grader, said he learned about gravity and how it affects activities in space.

First grade teacher Stephanie Ring loved watching the boys and girls have fun while learning the practical and spiritual elements space encompasses. “When we study space and all the wonders of the universe, we can see God’s might and majesty at work. In His infinite wisdom and love, He created our Earth and all the planets and galaxies, and He declared it good… Among all billions of stars and planets, He created us, as tiny as we are, in His image, and He cares for us each and every day of our lives.”

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic March 4, 2020