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Mapleton high school students expand their horizons at the Space Symposium

Some Mapleton high schoolers expanded their horizons a little wider recently, all the way to the stars. In mid-April, Academy High School’s space science class students, and several cadets from the district’s Air Force JROTC program, traveled to Colorado Springs to attend the annual Space Symposium, the premier event for the space industry. Sponsored by the Space Foundation, every year it brings together space leaders “from around the world to discuss, address, and plan for the future of space.”

JROTC cadets look at Jupiter

Mapleton’s students were invited to attend as Academy’s space science teacher, Mellissa Pfaff, is also a Space Foundation International Teacher Liaison. She took them to connect what they learned in the classroom to real life and give them a chance to ask questions from industry professionals.

The students marveled at rocket mockups and learned how spacecraft are built and designed. They also met engineers, pilots, software developers, and astronauts, who discussed their training and the space industry's future.

Students listen to a space expert

The students also visited the Space Foundation Discovery Center, a museum and educational facility dedicated to space, science, and technology. There, they soaked in more information about space history, rocketry, and planetary space travel.

Pfaff said her students represented Mapleton well and asked great questions. In addition to wanting to them to interact with space experts, she wanted her kids to consider space careers, themselves.

“Colorado is home to the largest private aerospace economy per capita in the country,” she said. “There are so many job opportunities for them to pursue and they deserved the chance to see for themselves.”