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BHS science class receives LEGO NASA rocket

Bandon High School science classes pose with James Loftus, who, with the help of sponsors, gifted the school with a LEGO Saturn V5 NASA Apollo rocket. Loftus, who lives in Stayton, grew up on Houston where his father worked at the space station. 

BANDON - Bandon High School is one of three schools to be awarded a LEGO Saturn V5 NASA Apollo model rocket from the Joseph P. Loftus Jr. Museum (JPLMuseum). The model rockets are designed to be used as a hand's-on team building exercise for the schools to build and rebuild for years. The two other schools that also received the LEGOs rockets are Henley in Klamath Falls and Stayton High School.

The schools were chosen because the communities, schools and students demonstrated a commitment to assist JPLMuseum in fulfilling its mission of providing unique nontraditional educational experiences by bringing NASA artifacts and engineers into the classroom as part of its Rural Schools Educational Initiative. The BHS science teachers are Trent Hatfield and Cal Taylor.

James Loftus, son of Joseph and director of the JPLMuseum, and his wife Loni came to BHS to award the rocket model in person on May 13. Prior to that visit, Loftus and others visited with 1,800 students and covered over 1,950 miles in two weeks in October 2018. The Loftus's live in Stayton, though James grew up in Houston, Texas and was often around astronauts at the Houston Space Center, where his father worked and pioneered the field of orbital debris. 

It is hoped the schools awarded the LEGO rockets will learn technical and cooperative skills while building them. Loftus told the students they can do anything, including working in the space industry, if they stay focused and get a good education.

"The selected schools had students that asked questions or demonstrated an unquenchable desire to learn," Loftus said. "We would like to thank the following sponsors for making this program a success: PacifiCorp Foundation, Santiam Hospital, City of Stayton, 10 Barrel Brewing, HP Civil Engineering, Klamath County School District and Stayton Ford. Because of the generous support of these major sponsors we can provide these unique educational experiences focused on science, technology, engineering, math and medicine."

JPLMuseum announces its Remote And Distant Interactive Online Sessions. The program is bringing together JPLMuseum.org, Oregon Connection Academy, Space Center Houston and Project Lead the Way for remote live interactive broadcast with active and retired NASA engineers. Any high school that would like to participate should contact James.Loftus@JPLMuseum.org. For more information, visit JPLMuseum.org.

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