Bandera – recognized as the Cowboy Capital of the World – is taking a look at things that are “out of this world” thanks to the work of Bandera Middle School students, the Bandera Independent School District and community supporters.
BMS students were selected in a competition against students from 33 other communities to have an experiment fly on the International Space Station – or the ISS – orbiting 254 miles above the earth.
Superintendent Dr. Jerry Hollingsworth talked about the potential educational impact this is having on BISD and its students.
“The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a perfect example of an opportunity for our learners that is second to none,” the superintendent said. “Our students are working on teams, competing to have their microgravity science experiment performed on the International Space Station. It is the kind of opportunity that makes learning in BISD an experience that’s not just good- it’s truly out of this world.”
On Tuesday, Oct. 22, the middle school hosted Space Night where professionals narrowed the 60-plus student experiments to the best three that will be submitted to a national selection committee.
That committee will select one of the three BMS experiments for the spaceflight.
It will be among 34 community experiments selected from across the U.S., Canada and Brazil for astronauts to conduct during a six-week stay in the space station next spring and summer.
In addition, all students at BMS were able to enter a mission- patch-design competition, and two Bandera Middle School patches will be chosen to ride along on the spaceflight.
Local and area support for the “fly high’’ BMS program has been very strong, officials said. It allowed the campus to raise the $25,000 necessary to participate in the national spaceflight program.
Supporters include the Hill Country Foundation, Warriors Heart, Heart 2, the Guajardo family, Winters Electric, H-E-B, the Louis Moreno family, Subaru, the BMS PTO, the Bandera ISD Education Foundation, and the Bobby LaLanne family.
Research associated with microgravity experiment were conducted by the sixth- grade science classes at the middle school, as well as by the seventh-and-eighth-grade students in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, program.
SSEP has offered BISD students a valuable opportunity to engage in real-world learning experiences.
Officials said it also aligns with BISD’s vision to be a “small-town district creating a worldwide impact” and reinforces the district’s core values by allowing teachers and students to passionately engage in learning experiences based on their own choices.