By Samantha Brooks
HNN Spring Intern
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) --
Since 1993, Challenger Center Hawaii has given thousands of students the ability to reach the stars with its missions through space.
On Friday, the center celebrated its 25th anniversary at the Capitol with Gov. David Ige and several special guests including Claude Onizuka and June Scobee Rodgers, founding director of the Challenger Center and widow of the Challenger Shuttle Commander Dick Scobee.
The Challenger Center Hawaii (CCHI) celebrated its 25th anniversary today with special guests Claude Onizuka and June Scobee Rodgers, founding director of the Challenger Center and widow of Challenger Shuttle Commander Dick Scobee
The celebration included a proclamation signing with Ige, and the announcement of the winning mission patch design.
More than 290 students from sixth to eight grade entered their designs in the patch contest that was decided by online vote. Jacob Favela, a sixth grader from Holomua Elementary School, took the top prize.
"The message I wanted to convey in the patch design is that great minds working together with optimism, peace and aloha can achieve anything," Favela said. "I wanted to remind other students that they can reach their goals if they are determined and work hard at it, just like astronaut Ellison Onizuka."
Nanea Lau, a sixth grader from Moanalua Elementary School, took second place. Third place was won by Leesha Bernabe, another sixth grader from Holomua Elementary School.
Fifteen Hawaii teachers who have been with the Challenger Center Hawaii program for more than 20 years were also recognized on Friday for their continued support.
"Our center has provided hands on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum to thousands of students over the past 25 years, and we look forward to continuing to teach the next generation of students that the wonders of the cosmos are within their reach," Liane Kim, director of Challenger Center Hawaii said.
As a NASA Regional Educator Resource Center, its the only learning center in the state that serves as a middle school application and assessment site for a variety of standardized tests.
"This center has a profound impact on our students," Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. "It reminds students that the possibilities in their futures are endless."