Students at West Ward Elementary School were encouraged to look to the stars, as the campus celebrated its annual Space Week.

In its 13th year, the weeklong event featured space-themed projects, assemblies and activities.

“This is something the kids look forward to every year,” said Maureen Adams, the school’s principal. “There’s always a lot of excitement and buildup to this week.”

Students participated in simulated space shuttle launches, and designed orbital experiments and model rockets they later launched using compressed air on the school’s playground.

The event’s goal is to use space to get students excited and interested

in science and math. To help, Adams brought in several experts in fields such as space flight and astronomy to speak with students.

“Space is still a frontier that needs to be explored, and that’s what fascinates kids,” said Dan Oats, a Space Camp representative from Hunstville, Ala. “Space exploration encompasses subjects like science and math; they are all interconnected.”

In recent years, the U.S. space program languished due to the economic downturn. John Blackwell, an astronomy and science chairman for Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, said it was up to future generations of students to renew the drive for further exploration and advancements.

“They need to let our leaders know how important this is,” he said. “We need to set a vision for where our space program needs to go.”

Two former West Ward students, Oscar Arrambide and Jose Delagarza, returned to campus to volunteer for Space Week.

“I try to come every year,” said Delagarza, a ninth-grader at Ellison High School. “It definitely got me interested in science.”

Contact Chris McGuinness at or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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