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Source: spacefoundation.org

Former NASA Astronaut Lt. Col. Duane "Digger" Carey will be the featured speaker at the WPS "Space in the Community" night on Thurs., Oct. 27 in the Performance-Learning Center (6:30-8:30 p.m.). This new yearly program, generously funded by the Gorman Foundation, will enhance our students' science instruction. This event is free and open to the public.

WPS joins forces with Space Foundation to launch new 'Space in the Community' program; Public invited to free Oct. 27 community night

Gorman Foundation & WPS Foundation generous fund new yearly initiative to "broaden horizons and inspire kids to explore education and careers in science and technology"

Fantasy author Paul Brandt once said, “Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”

With countless space exploration headlines in the news these days, including the new James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s goal of returning astronauts to the moon in 2024, and Elon Musk’s vision of getting a crewed mission to Mars by the end of the decade, it’s clear that the “limit” expands far beyond the sky . . . and the Wahoo Public Schools will actively encourage their students to reach for it.

WPS is excited to announce a new program offered in partnership with the Center for Innovation and Education, part of the Space Foundation in Colorado Springs, CO.

The Space Foundation is building the next generation of space leaders and improving the overall quality of education through teacher, student, and community programs that use space themes to improve students’ interest and skills in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM).

The new “Space in the Community” program is designed to inspire students about the wonders of space and to reignite the imagination of all members of the community, in hopes of inspiring the next generation of explorers.

It’s a mission that directly complements Wahoo’s own mission of “Inspiring Our Students to Thrive.”

“With the number of STEAM opportunities available outside of the school, the ability to allow students chances to explore within this realm fit under the banner of ‘Inspiring Students to Thrive,’” said WPS Superintendent Brandon Lavaley. “We are pleased to provide students experiences they would not be afforded in most other districts. Our hope is to spark future interest in STEAM fields, if that is what individual students desire.”

The new program will be launched at WPS next month, with a community night on Thursday, October 27 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Performance-Learning Center. There is no charge for the event, and community members of all ages are invited to attend. The evening will include many hands-on activities hosted by educators of Space Foundation (drones, robotics, Spheros, etc.). The Wahoo Robotics Club will also host a demonstration/showcase, and the WHS Band, whose 2022 music theme is Star Trek, will also perform selections from this year’s show.

In addition, the community night will feature a special presentation by former astronaut Lt. Col. Duane “Digger” Carey, who, among many other accomplishments, piloted the Space Shuttle Columbia on a mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope back in 2002. 

“Digger” Carey and the Space Foundation educators will then return to the district all day on Friday, October 28 for multiple hands-on learning opportunities with the student body. These sessions are being developed to enhance students’ science instruction and will be aligned with the Nebraska State Standards.

WPS is thankful for the financial support of the Gorman Foundation and the Wahoo Public Schools Foundation, which has made this program a reality, and will allow the District to continue building on it for years to come by funding annual programming.

“Hopefully the Gorman Foundation’s support of this type of project will contribute to the continued success of spreading STEAM education, especially in rural areas, to broaden horizons and inspire kids to explore education and careers in science and technology,” commented Jim Gorman, chairman of his family’s foundation. “Whether it be innovation and invention for farming, ranching or space travel and colonization, we need the next generation to be prepared for the immense challenges ahead.”

The WPS Foundation didn’t hesitate to add its support.

“The Wahoo Public Schools Foundation is both highly excited and grateful for this opportunity to partner with the Gorman Foundation on this innovative project,” added WPS Foundation President Eric Gottschalk. “In a very unique way, this generous gift greatly assists us in continuing our mission of enhancing our schools and inspiring our students.”

The Space in the Community project will provide opportunities for the greater Wahoo Community and our WPS students to continue to expand their background knowledge and experience in the STEAM fields.

“Projects that partner our students and school community with institutions like the Space Foundation in Colorado Springs and its Center for Innovation and Education align well with our mission,” stated WPS Director of Learning Dr. Josh Snyder. “Young learners are naturally inquisitive about the world around them, and the Space in the Community project will provide hands-on activities for them to further explore science, technology, engineering, art, and math both within and outside our classroom walls.” 

Snyder added that this project, in cooperation with the WPS and Gorman Foundations, will open new doors for the students and staff of WPS to interact with scientists, engineers, and astronauts, while nurturing a foundation for lifelong learning. 

The WPS administration and staff are excited for this new partnership with Space Foundation, and look forward to introducing Space in the Community to the WPS student body and community, as well as working to expand this program next year . . . to infinity, and beyond.

About the Gorman Foundation
Through the generosity of the Gorman Foundation, founded in 1997 by Jim's father, Jim Gorman, Jr., and his mother, Tena, Wahoo High School will be headed to space so to speak in affiliation with the Space Foundation in Colorado Springs, CO. Through a joint venture with the Wahoo Public Schools Foundation, the Gorman Foundation and Space Foundation, Wahoo Schools students and faculty will be the beneficiaries of hands-on experiences provided by the Space Foundation and its staff. This lines up with Jim's dream to incorporate the family's charitable focus on science and education in supporting quality STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) education into rural schools.

Through his career ties as a CPA, positions in senior corporate management and eventual venture capitalist, Jim was first introduced to the Space Foundation in 2016. He became an instant major advocate and supporter and later enlisted the Gorman Foundation's support for the Space Foundation as well. After moving to Lincoln, Nebraska in 2020, Jim started looking for opportunities for the Gorman Foundation and the Space Foundation to collaborate with schools and communities, promoting STEAM education. Wahoo was attractive to Jim for several reasons. One being a family member, stepson Erik Emerson, on faculty at Wahoo Middle School and two, the school having an active and robust Foundation of its own capable of handling the administrative details of the transactions/expenses related to such a dynamic undertaking. The Gorman Foundation, working closely with the Wahoo Public Foundation, will be providing the bulk of the support needed.

About the Wahoo Public Schools Foundation
Since its incorporation in 1988 by the Wahoo Public Schools Board of Education, the Wahoo Public Schools Foundation has existed to provide benefit and support for the Schools in the form of scholarships, building projects, program and faculty support within the District. 

From its original five-member Board, the Foundation has expanded to nine sitting Directors and several standing committees. As required by the original Articles of Incorporation, one of the WPSF Board members is also a member of the Wahoo Public School Board. 

Established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, the Foundation qualifies to receive gifts from donors as Charitable Contributions, as defined by the IRS, thus providing favorable tax treatment for donors of such gifts.

About Space Foundation
Space Foundation is a nonprofit advocate organization founded in 1983, offering a gateway to information, education and collaboration for space exploration and space-to-Earth industries that define the global space ecosystem. Driven by a partnership model, Space Foundation operates three divisions that unite the entire spectrum of stakeholders — business, government, education and local communities — through support from corporate membership, sponsorship, fundraising and grants. Symposium 365 is the premier source for media and events, including Space Symposium and The Space Report. Center for Innovation and Education is a lifelong learning provider, and Global Alliance facilitates collaboration around the world. Visit Space Foundation at www.SpaceFoundation.org, and follow on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

WPS joins forces with Space Foundation to launch new 'Space in the Community' program; Public invited to free Oct. 27 community night

Jim Gorman
Eagle, NebraskaChairman of the Board - Gorman Foundation

Nov 02, 2022

I would like to thank Dr. Josh Snyder, Superintendent Brandon Lavely, the Wahoo Foundation and directors Eric Gottschalk and Bill Reece, Astronaut Digger Carey, the Space Foundation crew and everyone else that came together to make this happen. We have such a tall order as a civilization to tackle the challenges before us. Whether it be energy, the environment, farming, medicine, aerospace or our fellow humans in need. Who will be our future problem solvers? We are a people of natural curiosity, pioneers at heart, explorers and creators. I believe we are meant to be a space faring civilization, a star people. Space is the final frontier, our infinite frontier. So while we’re solving the problems here on Earth, let’s get out there and build on our progress! What will we learn? What will we find? Who might we encounter out there? And won’t it be great to have a place to go if we need to. And you students, YOU are the key to our future. Your minds, your creativity galvanized with engaging and interesting education in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math are absolutely essential for the future of our civilization here on earth, and BEYOND. Thank you and I hope students and teachers alike carry away a spark, a thirst for STEAM education and an interest in Space to carry our civilization into the future.