Space Camp USA

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Nathan with his Max Carpenter and Kathy Johnson Award, for overcoming challenges and showing leadership qualities10 October 2016

Two Catholic secondary students, Nathan Luke (Salesian College, Sunbury) and Caleb Neyenhuis (St Joseph’s College, Newtown), who are both visually impaired, attended Space Camp in the USA. They were accompanied by two Catholic Education Melbourne placed teachers, Lisa Zarb and Odette Budge.

After setting personal goals from the Expanded Core Curriculum, both students worked on these skills along the way. Caleb and Nathan were involved in either Space Academy or Advanced Academy programs where they practiced skills, trained and problem solved engineering challenges with immersive experiences such as training like an astronaut on a multi-axis trainer, designing robots and simulation of space missions. They were tested on their individual abilities as well as team building skills with an extended mission at the end of the program.


We were very proud to observe their progress, along with other vision teachers from around the world,’ said Lisa. 

Caleb experiencing a simulated space mission

Caleb and Nathan completed the Academy programs and were awarded on graduation with a photo of their team and badge. Teams and individuals who stood out in the program were nominated and rewarded with additional awards at the end. Nathan was awarded the highest achievement of the
camp for the student who had overcome their challenges and shown leadership qualities.

‘We were also doubly blessed with an award of a scholarship to use in the next two years for SCIVIS (Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students). This is for students who cannot afford to attend or fundraise the tuition fees for Space Camp,’ said Odette. ‘Most people decide to pass it on to students of a country who struggle to fundraise or have opportunities like this so we decided to look for a student through the SPEVI (South Pacific Educators in Vision Impairment) conference in January or links we have with schools for the blind in the more disadvantaged countries.’

‘We arrived home yesterday afternoon, reuniting very happy parents and very tired students (and staff!). We couldn’t have asked for more,’ said Lisa.