Generations remember the Challenger disaster

A local learning center continues to teach the lessons of the Challenger to multiple generations. The Challenger Learning Center was named and created in honor of the shuttle.

Center Director Mellisa Duncan says 30 years later, the center still believes and teaches the motto triumph out of tragedy. "The idea of exploration, education, the idea of pushing the boundaries still lives through that crew," she says.

Whether it’s remembering with those who lived during the Challenger disaster or teaching a new generation about it, the Challenger’s mission stays alive.

As a chaperone for her daughter’s first grade class to the Challenger Learning Center, Tricia Hartline says she and her daughter Macy were both excited about the field trip. "They’ve been studying with Mr. Griffith’s class and taking about astronauts and going into space and all that," Hartline says.

Hartline was the same age her daughter is now when the challenger shuttle disaster unfolded on live TV. She says Macy’s preoccupied with being in space on her field trip, but Hartline will take the opportunity afterward to talk together about what happened.

"She’ll be able to explain a little more about what she learned," Hartline says. "And we can talk about maybe what they did back then 30 years ago, as well as what they’re doing today."

Cypress Elementary Teacher Nick Griffith says he still remembers the active challenger field trip adventure when he was a student, and why he planned the same experience for his students.

"I really like how excited they are about it," Griffith says. "That’s the good thing about first grade: they’re always excited about everything."

The Challenger Learning Center teaches through hands-on learning for all ages with activities like making an astronaut helmet or solving problems in space.

But Griffith says the memories his class can forge on this trip and after at home are why he’ll bring future classes and why parents share challenger memories with their children.

"Even though a tragic thing happened, there’s a good thing that comes from it," Griffith says. "Kids getting this opportunity 30 years later."

You can call the challenger learning center for reservations or a short tour.

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