The week went by so quickly, in part because every day was action-packed, and in part because everyone was pumped up on adrenaline, speed, and inspiration. I have no idea how I can convey what a truly amazing week this was. But of course I'm going to try.
We ended our week where we started it, in a conference room overlooking the T-38 jets that NASA uses as trainers for the astronauts. This time, instead of an introductory orientation, each team was asked to creatively sum up their week. This was an opportunity for the teachers to share both the science and the wonder of their 11 weightless minutes (30 parabolas of approximately 22 seconds of 0g = 11 minutes total).
First up was the Space Cowboy team. They naturally led a campfire sing-a-long and convinced VIP/Astronaut/Educator Leland Melvin to not only join them but to wear Patty's cowboy(girl) hat.
|Space Cowboys + special guest (all photos courtesy of Sheriff JDL)|
Next up was the Jersey City team with a 5-minute movie, "Zero g-Men." It included a trailer for the movie created by team member Craig Lapierre.
Team Philly presenting their slideshow...
Team Princeton sang a song...
Team Auburn a movie...
And Team Trenton a rap...
Quite honestly, a photo could never do justice to the presentations. We laughed, we were touched by the emotions that the teams expressed, and I found myself getting a little misty. These presentations were my "fuel." Hearing how this experience had already changed people in such a positive and powerful way let me share in the joy that was pouring out of everyone. And, quite selfishly, I got to be a part of all six teams' emotional journey. As I write this, I still have all of those feelings wrapped around me and I don't want to let that go.
But we needed to say goodbye and pack up our equipment. I hand-waved a few closing remarks and we headed on over to the hangar.
There was one last thing to do before we could go.
Teams that have previously flown on the aircraft hang a banner in the rafters of the high bay next to the runway. Earlier in the week, Aliya took the new PPPL logo and gotten our own banner made and now everyone signed it. Before we could hang it, we needed one last picture. So I got on the public address system (never give me a microphone Sara!) and asked if everyone could gather by the plane. Cameras were pointed, we smiled and hugged, and *poof* it was over.
As we walked out the door, I told our friends from NASA that we'd be back again next year. I can't wait.