MBES delegation in the spotlight for Space Camp 2022 | New

PRAIRIE BRIDGE – Whatever their background or ambitions, students at Meadow Bridge Elementary School heard sound advice on Friday that they can keep with them throughout their lives.

It might even take them to space if that is their goal.

During a special ceremony in which participants in the ‘Failure is not an Option’ scholarship fund were announced for the summer of 2022, MBES students learned that character, Persistence and, most importantly, hard work, will be crucial as they advance through their school years and begin to develop goals and career plans.

Russell Dunford, a graduate of Meadow Bridge High School, and his brother, Wallace Dunford, visited the MBES on Friday, November 19 to chat with students and staff. The Dunford family are among those who help sponsor the annual scholarships that allow local students to spend a week at Space Camp and learn many details about aviation and space exploration. Following the ceremony, two finalists and two alternates were announced as school representatives at Space Camp this summer in Huntsville, Alabama. The fifth graders attending the weeklong event will be Cory Cooper and Aubrielle Williams, while the substitutes are Nehemiah. Thomas and Kayelin Mullins.

Educator Kami Walker will also be attending next summer, as for the first time this year a staff member from Meadow Bridge will also be attending Space Camp.

“For my brother and I, we both know what education does for you,” explained Russell Dunford. “We know the doors he will open and the doors he can close.

“Really all we’re trying to do is teach kids one thing, the value of education, and two, and sowing seeds that they might one day go and do STEM (areas of studying science, technology, engineering or math) or engineering or whatever they do. Like my brother said, we don’t care what you do. Whatever you do, realize that failure doesn’t “is not an option. You can hit a wall and step back and say,” OK, if I can’t go through the wall, then let me find a window. “

“Just keep moving towards that goal that you have and follow that passion that’s in your heart.”

“For him and me, it’s about tenacity, it’s about trying to live what you want to be and helping these kids,” added Russell Dunford, who is currently director of the US Army. Corps of Engineers, performing data analysis. “Like I said, I’d rather help a kid now in fifth grade than see him go through some kind of rehab… because he’s done it wrong.”

Dunford, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, said he looks forward to the presentation every year to honor MBES students, as well as making time to visit family on Thanksgiving. “It’s the best Christmas present I can get,” he said. “It is more about giving than receiving. I have been very blessed.”

“We are doing this presentation at this time of year so families can start planning for July,” he added. “Much like NASA, we are starting to plan for the upcoming mission in July.”

“This year we were also able to sponsor an educator to come down, and that was the first time we could do that,” said Dunford. “I hope we can do this every year in the future.”

During the event, the Dunfords advised students to thank and appreciate the efforts of people such as Walker and teachers Janet Fox and Lanna Duncan.

Wallace Dunford, an entrepreneur, urged students to pursue their dreams. “If you can find what you (love) to do, I guarantee you will never work another day in your life,” he said.

In his remarks, Wallace Dunford quoted former Meadow Bridge football head coach Larry McClintic. “Hard work has never hurt anyone other than your opponent,” McClintic told his players, he recalls.

“It’s good for us to have the opportunity to participate in something like this,” said Mark Gladwell, Principal of Meadow Bridge Elementary. “I hope this will show our students that no matter where you are from, you are capable of anything. Whatever your goals, we encourage you to pursue them.”

During his presentation, Russell Dunford highlighted individuals such as Katherine Coleman Johnson, Edward O. Buckbee, Chuck Yeager and Homer Hickam who have achieved success in the field of aviation.

Also during the ceremony on Friday, MBES students and staff heard a remote presentation from Miranda Odem, an assistant engineer in charge of the U.S. Army Development Command (DEVCOM) at Redstone Dockyard in Huntsville , Alabama. Odem discussed the challenges of the engineering profession. , the importance of studying in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) and other issues.

“The sky is the limit on what you can do with math and science,” Odem told the students. She also answered several questions from the students.

Meadow Bridge High junior Conner Mullins, the first MBES student to attend Space Camp, said on Friday the camp exposed him to many opportunities and gave him a boost in his future. “When I went there, I focused a lot on aviation,” he said, calling it “a great benchmark for my future”.

Mullins is also happy to see the program grow. “It’s expanded and it’s great for the community.”

For his part, Cooper said he appreciates the chance to be a space camp caddy that Mullins has already adopted. “I’m so super happy that I’m really shaking,” said Cooper, who hopes to be an engineer when he’s older.

Walker, who works on the administrative side of MBES, will attend because a school teacher couldn’t work weekdays in his summer schedule for 2022. “I was a little worried at first because I didn’t teaching degree; I’m in administration, ”said Walker, who previously worked for the Air Force in a civilian capacity.

She wants to benefit from the experience, then bring back knowledge to share with the students of the school. “My dad always told me there was nothing you couldn’t do, and I just want to pass it on. I’m over the moon, that’s all I can say.”

E-mail: skeenan@register-herald.com or follow us on Twitter @gb_scribe

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