Good News: Team goes to national science competition

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A group of Savannah students shot for the stars - and got there.

Isle of Hope Elementary School sent a team to a national science competition in Florida this week. They were back at school on Thursday, but these Isle of Hope Elementary students were still over the moon.

"I've always been told the more you do, the better you'll do in life," one student said.

The group of 10 couldn't have done much more than they did at the Kennedy Space Center's Student Astronaut Challenge earlier this week, taking second in the nation in a Space Shuttle Simulator Competition that was broadcast live on NASA TV.

"The competition was really tight there, but mostly it was just pride because we put in a lot of work," another student said.

The team overcame more than any other school at the competition.

When these kids signed up for an after-school club to train for the event 12 weeks ago, few of them knew anything about space, and they taught themselves on whatever materials they had available, beating bigger schools with dedicated space science programs.

"We had two little crates and a wooden box with panels and switches that didn't do anything and buttons that didn't actually push. To think, we actually beat other schools that have the actual simulator and have the real experience of being in the simulator."

What the Isle of Hope team had was a commitment to overcome any challenge.

"We took the failure is not an option and we went with that. We just didn't stop, we kept throwing things at them and throwing things at them, and they began to talk, they began to listen, and they learned to fight," said Carolyn Rethwische, Astronaut Challenge Team Coach.

"Over time, we just gelled together and got very good together and it was a very interesting experience, and I think we've all grown as friends together now over this event," one of the students said.

"As a teacher, that's what you dream about. You dream about getting out of your comfort zone and helping kids learn. This wasn't a journey of me teaching them, it was a journey we took together. It was a journey I would take a million times over with this group," Rethwische said.

Upon returning from Florida, the Isle of Hope team said they would like to continue to work together and build a simulator at their school so future teams would also have the opportunity to do well in the Astronaut Challenge.

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