Funds Released For Challenger Center At Barbers Point School

Funds recently released by Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui will ensure Challenger Center Hawaii remains fully equipped to educate its participants.

The amount, totalling $100,000, was presented to the Friends of Challenger Center, a group of volunteers that works to provide support for the center, which is located at Barbers Point Elementary School.

“It’s fantastic,” said Clinton Churchill, president of the Friends of Challenger Center. “This year, we could not have been more pleased.”

Challenger Center Hawaii opened in April 1993 and offers a space simulation experience to students in grades 6-8. The children are given the opportunity to apply classroom preparation to realistic missions, such as”Return to the Moon” and “Rendezvous with Comet Halley.”

More importantly, it is a time for students to engage in interactive STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning.

“The Challenger Center has been nurturing and enriching Hawaii’s future scientists and astronauts for many years,” Tsutsui noted, “and we strongly believe this program enhances their STEM education in hands-on application.

“While participating in an exciting learning environment, students gain skills to help them be competitive in the 21st-century work-force,” he added.

The recently acquired funds will allow the learning center to upgrade its hardware and software. It also will assist with training teachers and updating the curriculum.

“It’s just one of the great little gems in the Leeward area that not too many people know about,” said Churchill, who believes that STEM education is a crucial part of a child’s development and plays a role in their ability to reach full potential.

For those who haven’t visited the center, Churchill said it’s as simple as asking. “If your child hasn’t experienced the program, talk to your teacher, talk to the principal and encourage more participation.”

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