With these two inspiring words, the 2010/2011 fifth grade Columbus Young Astronauts have named their 24 hour simulated mission. In doing so, the astronauts simultaneously honor the space achievements that came before them and the triumphs yet to be attained.
It was 50 years ago, on April 12, 1961, that humanity finally, after millennia of dreaming, pierced the mysteries of the heavens with the flight of Yuri Gagarin’s Vostok 1. This was soon followed by Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 flight on May 5, 1961.
A mere 20 years later, the first space shuttle, Columbia, roared off the pad on April 12, 1981. What began as a test to see if mankind could simply cross the threshold of the unknown, evolved into a systematic exploration of the possibilities of space.
Fifty and thirty years after these epic events “…the impact of space activities is nothing less than the galvanizing of hope and imagination …into a future of infinite possibility.” *
Along with the celebrations of 50 years of human space flight and 30 years of shuttle flights, it is not a coincidence that 2011 is also the 30th anniversary of Columbus as a magnet school. For just as the early cosmonauts and astronauts, along with later shuttle crews were, and continue to be, leaders, so too are all the students who grace the halls of Columbus Magnet School. For 30 years, Columbus students have shown the power of imagination, creativity and a dedication to knowledge. Columbus continues to be an incubator for all that is positive in the spirit of children.
The confluence of anniversaries in 2011 is more than fortuitous – the dreams that propelled humans to reach for the stars are the same dreams that inspire the members of Humanity Unbound and, indeed, all Columbus students. It is these young people who are the sowers of the seeds of destiny and our collective futures.
* Vanna Bonta