Press Release

VCA Inc, Contest Winners Hosted at Challenger Learning Center New Mexico

By SpaceRef Editor
May 19, 2010
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Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, –Challenger Learning Center New Mexico will host a morning event devoted to students from the Adobe Acres on May 19, 2010. The students are the Grand Prize winners of the VCA “Pets in Space” essay contest.

The winning students are from the fourth and fifth grade gifted students program at Adobe Acres. Their teachers are Elyse Sedillo and Faith Forsythe. Teachers and students will all be treated to a catered breakfast at this event The keynote speaker at this breakfast will be Dr. Harrison Schmitt. Dr. Schmitt, a native New Mexican, is a former U.S. Senator and was the Lunar Module Pilot on the Apollo 17 mission – the last Apollo mission to land on the Moon.

After the presentation, students will participate in a simulated space shuttle mission, “Rendezvous With A Comet”, one of several programs provided by the Challenger Learning Center New Mexico. The main goal of this simulated mission is to gather cometary particles.

During their 2.5 hour mission, the students, acting as astronauts and scientists, will conduct experiments and gather data as is done by astronauts on the International Space Station, while receiving guidance from their team counterparts in Mission Control.

The “Rendezvous With A Comet” simulation curriculum is carefully aligned with both New Mexico State and National curricular standards. During a simulation, students use critical thinking, problem solving, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and other skills they have obtained in school. These simulations show students that the topics they are studying have real-life applications and are stepping stones to rewarding and exciting careers.

Once the mission is accomplished, students will have the pleasure of enjoying Dion’s pizza at Jerry’s Garage the dining area of the Unser Racing Museum.

VCA sponsorship of this essay contest involved the donation of five complete 2.5 hour missions at a total value of $2,500. As a result of this competition, five classrooms from around the Albuquerque area were selected. The Grand Prize winners were students from Adobe Acres. Other winners are: Laura Lirette, Hubert Humphrey Elementary; Laurie Gilbert and Carol Markham, Menaul School; Susan Bane, La Academia de Esperanza; and Kim Berlat of Cottonwood Valley Charter School.

VCA sees activities such as this competition as a way to contribute to community welfare above and beyond their commitment to animal health. In addition, this activity provides support directly to the community of Los Ranchos, where the Challenger Learning Center New Mexico is located, and helps to instill a love of science among young people in the community. For more information on VCA please visit

Challenger Learning Center New Mexico (CLCNM) is a non-profit educational organization, one of 48 Challenger Learning Centers around the world. CLCNM provides interactive educational space simulations for students in grades 5-12. For further information please visit

Contact Name: Diane Uczekaj, Business Development Manager
Day Phone: 505-248-1776
Mobile Phone: 505-314-3065

SpaceRef staff editor.