If you read Project NASA, you’ll remember my class trip to Houston was in jeopardy. We needed to raise more money and quickly or there would be no trip to NASA, mission control or the beach.
One morning the 5th grade teachers announced we were entering recycling contest sponsored by Pepsi. The class that collected the most cans would win a prize of $5,000. We doubled our efforts, searching on Saturdays after soccer games and Sunday afternoons. My older sister Jennifer took this opportunity to practice her driving skills. Lindsay and I readily volunteered to get out and walk. On Mondays, we hauled bags and cans to Liberty and the teachers, I’m sure, hauled bags and bags to Pepsi Co.
One Friday morning, Dad dropped Lindsay, Natalie and I off outside the gym as usual. We went inside and quickly took our spots in our class’ lines. Each morning Mr. Long made announcements before dismissing each class.
Mr. Long told the school we had a special announcement that morning. Then music started to play and the 5th grade teachers danced out, each holding a poster board sign. When they turned the signs around, we gasped. Each sign held a number. 5-0-0-0. We’d done it! 5th grade had won the Pepsi Co contest and enough money for our trip to Houston!
We jumped up and down and screamed and for once, no teachers shushed us. They were as excited as us. From that moment in November, our efforts shifted from raising money, to planning the actual trip. The energy and excitement we had fueled our classroom lessons as we dove into research about NASA, the space race and Houston. For once, I couldn’t wait to get back to school after Christmas break. The weeks in January and February seemed to drag, even with some snow days mixed in. But finally February 18th arrived and our grand space odyssey began.