Back in 2010, Skyscrapers was invited to post a display about our organization in a display case in the foyer of the Glocester Manton Library located on Main Street in Chepachet. Tom Thibault and I created a fantastic display highlighting Seagrave Memorial Observatory and Skyscrapers. It was so well received that its run was extended.
About a month and a half ago, a library representative contacted me asking if we would be interested in displaying at the library again. The library’s invite is a great opportunity to pique the interest of young children in the science of astronomy, and also hopefully to inspire them to become Junior members of Skyscrapers. My answer was a resounding absolutely!
Each year libraries throughout the United States participate in a “Summer Reading Program.” The 2012 theme is Dream Big.
I hadn’t given much thought to the theme until it was time to begin to plan out the display. I decided to repeat the main center panel which showcases what our organization is all about. The side panels, which frame the main one, could be easily changed to reflect the Dream Big theme.
One night after finishing up another project, I sat down to think about the library display. How could I tie Skyscrapers into the summer reading program theme? Then it hit me. It’s amazing sometimes how that spark of creativity can literally flash into your mind.
Who do we know in Skyscrapers who is dreaming big — our youngest member, Alex Bergemann. And who inspired Alex to set his goals to aspire to become an astronaut? Harmony, Rhode Island’s own Sherwood “Woody” Spring! Woody was a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Atlantis, STS-61B, from November 26 through December 3, 1985. Once permission was granted from Alex and his mom, the project began.
I contacted Woody and got his permission to use anything available about his life and journey into orbit. He was also kind enough to send along a few private images that are not available up on the Web. A few of these were used for the display.
As you face the display, Woody is profiled on the left panel, while Alex is profiled on the right. To the side of the Woody panel is a copy of the first letter Woody sent in response to a letter by Alex. To the side of the Alex panel is a copy of the letter Woody sent to Skyscrapers recommending Alex’s election to membership.
In front of the display are four placards on stands. Three contain quotes from Woody that we hope will inspire young people to “reach for the stars.” The fourth one contains quotes from Alex. I have included both Woody’s and Alex’s quotes for your enjoyment. Tom Thibault has provided a couple of low-resolution images of the display to accompany this story.
This project was a team effort by Tom and myself. It would have been difficult to achieve the success we did without Tom’s many resources and drive for perfection.
We hope the display will encourage everyone who views it to Dream Big.