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To the Moon

Because Donna Lucido would not take no for an answer, her 5th graders' study of space has really taken off.

Ms. Lucido, a 27-year veteran of the Pennsbury, Pa., school district, made 18 pleading calls to NASA over nearly two months to get her class into one of its space camps.

All 23 of her students from the 733-student Edgewood Elementary School in Yardley, Pa., will spend a week next month at the camp in Titusville, Fla.

The students' interest was sparked last year, when Ms. Lucido taught space exploration. The class was creating a timeline to show the progress of NASA's space program when they discovered articles about Space Camp. Ms. Lucido was bombarded with questions about the program and, with 23 hopeful pairs of eyes peering up at her, she decided to get in touch with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

With the same students in her class this year, she got to work on what proved to be a grueling process. "It's one of the hardest years I've ever had," said Ms. Lucido. "The paperwork was incredible."

Not only did she have to contend with NASA officials, who normally allow only groups of six to attend the weeklong camp, but she also needed the approval of the school board.

After a lot of haggling, she talked NASA representatives into accepting 23 students and 13 chaperones at a discounted group rate. Final approval came from NASA in November; with that in hand, Ms. Lucido submitted a 22-page proposal for the school board for review.

In early January, the board approved the project, 11-1. Edgewood parents, drawn in by their children's excitement, paid $1,000 per student.

Liftoff is scheduled for May 20-25. The students will conduct experiments inside a space lab, learn about microgravity inside a simulator that will launch them 150 feet up in the air with four "G's" of force, and visit the Kennedy Space Center.

—Marianne Hurst

Vol. 20, Issue 29, Page 3

Published in Print: April 4, 2001, as Take Note

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