Community program

Community Night Launches WPS “Space in the Community” Program

Wahoo Public Schools

WAHOO – Fantasy writer 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 by 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” extends far beyond the sky. . . and Wahoo Public Schools will actively encourage their students to achieve it.

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

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 enhance the interest and skills of science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) students.

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

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

“With the number of STEAM opportunities available outside of school, the ability to allow students to explore this area falls under the banner of ‘Inspiring Students to Thrive,'” said WPS Superintendent Brandon Lavaley. “We are pleased to provide students with experiences that would not be available to them in most other districts. Our hope is to spark future interest in STEAM fields, if that is what students want. »

The new program will launch at WPS this month, with a Community Night on Thursday, October 27 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Performance-Learning Center. The event is free and community members of all ages are welcome to attend.

The evening will include many hands-on activities led by Space Foundation educators (drones, robotics, Spheros, etc.). The Wahoo Robotics Club will also host a demonstration/showcase, and the WHS Marching Band, whose 2022 theme music is “Star Trek,” will also perform selections from this year’s show.

Additionally, the community night will include a special presentation by former astronaut Lt. Col. Duane “Digger” Carey, who, among many other accomplishments, piloted the Space Shuttle Columbia on a telescope servicing mission. Hubble Space in 2002.

Carey and Space Foundation educators will then return to the district all day Friday, October 28 for multiple hands-on learning opportunities with the student body. These sessions are developed to enhance student science education and will be aligned with Nebraska State standards.

The program is made possible through the financial support of the Gorman Foundation and the Wahoo Public Schools Foundation, which made this program a reality, and will allow the school district to continue to develop it for years to come by funding annual programming. .

“I hope that the Gorman Foundation’s support for this type of project will contribute to the continued success of spreading STEAM education, especially in rural areas, to broaden horizons and inspire children to explore education and careers in science and technology,” said Jim Gorman, president of his family’s foundation. “Whether it’s innovation and invention for agriculture, animal husbandry, or space travel and colonization, we need the next generation to be prepared for the immense challenges ahead.”

The WPS Foundation did not hesitate to lend its support.

“The Wahoo Public Schools Foundation is both very 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 donation goes a long way in helping us continue our mission to improve our schools and inspire our students.

The Space in the Community project will provide the entire Wahoo community and our WPS students with opportunities to continue to deepen their knowledge and experience in STEAM fields.

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

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

The Gorman Foundation was founded in 1997 by Jim’s father, Jim Gorman Jr., and his mother, Tena. The Space in the Community program aligns with Gorman’s dream of integrating the family’s charitable focus on science and education by supporting quality STEAM education in rural schools.

Through his career connections as a CPA, corporate leadership positions and eventual venture capital, Gorman was first introduced to the Space Foundation in 2016. He instantly became a major advocate and

supporter and later also gained support from the Gorman Foundation for the Space Foundation. After moving to Lincoln in 2020, Gorman began seeking opportunities for the Gorman Foundation and the Space Foundation to collaborate with schools and communities, promoting STEAM education. Wahoo appealed to him for several reasons – one being a family member, son-in-law Erik Emerson, is on the faculty of Wahoo Middle School and two, the school has its own active and strong foundation capable of manage the administrative details of transactions/expenses related to such a dynamic business. The Gorman Foundation, working closely with the Wahoo Public Foundation, will provide most of the support needed.

Since its incorporation in 1988 by the Wahoo Public Schools Board of Education, the Wahoo Public Schools Foundation has existed to provide benefits and support to schools in the form of scholarships, building projects, programs, and teacher support in the district.

From its initial board of five members, the foundation has grown to nine serving 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 of Education.

Space Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1983, providing a gateway to information, education, and collaboration for space exploration and the space-to-Earth industries that define the global space ecosystem. Driven by a partnership model, the Space Foundation operates three divisions that unite all stakeholders – business, government, education and local communities – through corporate member support, sponsorship, fundraising and subsidies. For more information, visit Space Foundation at