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CCMS students have talent that is out of the world

The Lowcountry School of the Arts Learning Community at Colleton County Middle School is proud to announce the Colleton County Mission Patch Contest Winners for the Student Spaceflights Experiments Program Mission 6 to the International Space Station and the winners of the Lowcountry School of the Arts design contest.

SSEP (http://ssep.ncesse.org) is undertaken by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE; http://ncesse.org) in partnership with Nanoracks, LLC. This on-orbit educational research opportunity is enabled through NanoRacks, LLC, which is working in partnership with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory.Further information on flight operations for Mission 6 is available on the SSEP web page: http://ssep.ncesse.org/current-flight-opportunities/ssep-mission-6-to-the-international-space-station-iss/ From STEM to STEAM with Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics

To promote community-wide engagement in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, Colleton County School District extended our Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) focus to include Art through the SSEP Mission Patch Competition at the close of the 2013-14 school year. Two winning patches from Colleton County have been sent to the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education awaiting the launch date.

In the elementary grades 4-5 competition, students from Bells Elementary School, Cottageville Elementary School, Forest Hills Elementary School, Hendersonville Elementary School, and Northside Elementary School competed. The winner was Cameron Jones, at that time a fifth grader at Bells Elementary School, but who is currently a grade 6 student at Colleton County Middle School in the Tuskegee Airmen Learning Community. The Director of Elementary Education, Mrs. Jessica Williams coordinated the contest and reported that 256 students participated.

At Colleton County Middle School, 542 sixth graders competed last May in the mission patch middle level contest. STEM Coach Patti Drawdy served as the school coordinator for the experiment design contest and the mission patch competition. Nick Armentrout and Will Dandridge were co-designers of the winning middle level mission patch. They were both students in Mrs. Eugene’s class on the Airacobras team in the Tuskegee Airmen Learning Community. Nick Armentrout is currently a student in the Lowcountry School of the Arts Grade 7 Learning Community at CCMS while Will Dandridge is a student at Colleton Prep Academy. Special thanks to Mrs. Julia Waddell, artist and retired art educator, for serving as a judge for the middle level competition.

With pride in being the second school in our state to participate in SSEP, both patches feature state symbols including the palmetto tree and crescent moon. Our school mascot is the cougar and the middle level patch includes the motto “Cougar Pride.”

Sandra Eugene, Nick’s sixth grade teacher, commented, “We are excited that these mission patches will accompany our community’s experiment into low space orbit in winter 2014.”

The CCMS winning experiment was “Milk in Microgravity” by Amber Avant, Bailey Crosby, Morgan Dandridge, Megan Dewitt, and Casey Powell with teacher facilitators Mrs. Ann Henson and Mrs. Carolyn Dalton. These students presented their experiment during July at the SSEP National Conference at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Their entire presentation at the conference may be viewed on You Tube at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DvkUpYzZNs .

On September 2, Colleton County Council recognized the outstanding science achievement of these young scientists. SC Governor Hailey and U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham expressed their congratulations as well. Later this month, Mrs. Henson and Mrs. Dalton will present highlights of the program and other Transformational STEM initiatives at CCMS to STEM advocates and educators at the SC STEM Summit in Spartanburg, SC.

A mini-laboratory with the CCMS’ experiment and the two mission patches will be launched on Orbital Sciences Orb-3 (Antares rocket, Cygnus spacecraft) with payload designation as SSEP8 – Yankee Clipper (named for Apollo12 Command Module). The launch site is the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) near Wallops Island, Virginia. October 14 is a tentative launch date.

The students are now officially in the “preparing for launch” phase of the project. On September 9, the students will video-conference with a payload operations specialist from Nanoracks. At that time, they will load their experiment fluids into the mini-lab.

Patti Drawdy, STEM Coach expressed her excitement, “What an amazing journey it has been from last October when I responded to the online announcement, and then spent a weekend writing our implementation plan. It is like a dream come true.”

Principal Baines commented, “In just over 6 weeks, Colleton County students will launch an experiment to the International Space Station. Incredible!”

As part of the Transformational STEM initiative at CCMS, the Lowcountry School of the Arts Grade 7 students were given the challenge of designing a logo for their school as an introduction to Arts-infused education during the first two weeks of school. Students were encouraged to work collaboratively. Each homeroom class chose a winning logo from the many designs that the students created. Those 18 finalists competed for the honor of their logo representing the CCMS Lowcountry School of the Arts in all public communication on our website, in newsletters, T-shirts, etc.

Several local community members and patrons of the arts judged the contest on September 3, at 10:00 AM. They included Mrs. Toni Jackson, sculptress and member of the Colleton County Arts Council; Mr. Anthony Herndon, Director, Brice Herndon and Sons Funeral Home, and Dr. Harold Rhodes, local dentist and avid art collector of African Art.

The winning logo was designed collaboratively by Kelsey Kinard, Jeremiah Monroe, Jatelvay Mosley, Holley Tant, and Taylor Young. They are all students in Mrs. Meredith Drawdy Odum’s homeroom on “The Realists” Team.

Marcella Owens, a newly-appointed assistant principal at Colleton County Middle School, serves as house administrator for the Lowcountry School of the Arts. Mrs. Owens stated, “I am so proud of our 7th grade teachers and students here at CCMS. They have been given a wonderful opportunity to showcase their talent and creativity as well as promote the importance of Arts in STEM education.”


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