Hilary Wimmer, Colorado’s 2020 Teacher of the Year, got to take the trip of a lifetime this summer when she joined educators from across the country at Space Camp in Alabama.
The educators got hands-on training to learn methods for exciting and inspiring students about space exploration and the aerospace industry in general.
Hilary and her peers geared up and trained like astronauts, patched up rocket shields (simulated with shaving cream), met engineers and project managers that built some of the original spacecraft (one was 93 years old), and even met the astronauts themselves to hear their unique perspectives.
“Every single astronaut or engineer that I spoke with said that when they get into space they see one earth,” Hilary said. “They don’t see conflict or borders; they see a big beautiful blue planet that we’re all on together. They see, like only they can, how small we are in the big picture and how we ultimately all belong to one world and one community.”
A true business teacher, Hilary was also wowed by the glimpse back in time to when project management meant huge rooms with hand-written Gantt charts. “It was so neat to see the history and get a different perspective on career development. Our students have access to tools that even NASA scientists didn’t!”
Hilary was also inspired by the skyrocketing career opportunities for students in space and aerospace tech. She got to learn about Artemis, a new space launch system, which NASA says will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon. “The aerospace industry as a whole is making more and more space for underrepresented groups, which is so important,” she said.
Hilary and her cohort of “some of the most incredible educators you’ve ever met” is also invited to attend the White House next month, pandemic-allowing.
Hilary won the 2020 Colorado Teacher of the Year Award when she was Career and Technical Education Instructional Leader, DECA Advisor and High School of Business Coordinator at Mountain Range High School. She has now stepped up to serve even more students as the Assistant Director of Career and Technical Education and Postsecondary Readiness for the entire Five Star District.