Since I was a little keiki I wondered what was out there beyond planet Earth. Whenever the astronauts landed in waters near Hawai'i, my parents took me to see them walk down the red carpet at Iolani Palace. On one of those special events, I stepped right on the red carpet beaming at Astronaut John Glenn,thinking how much I wanted to be like him. The years to follow also included pictures of rockets and spacecraft that Uncle Charlie sent me from his NASA office in Maryland.
Living in Hawai'i with the cool breeze, blue waters and lots of trees and open space made me switch from a career in space science to becoming a teacher. I couldn't bear to be enclosed in a place where I couldn't open the windows to catch the wind or even feel the light showers. It seemed that no matter what I taught, whether language arts, performing arts, technology, gifted and talented, environmental science, kindergarten or seventh grade, I used space science as my theme. For 20 years, I also taught space science in summer programs across the State of Hawai'i. How lucky to have friends who brought vacationing astronauts to my schools and classrooms. And how wonderful it was to be able to partner with schools across our country and in Japan to simulate the building of space stations and testing the environment.
Now retired from the teaching field, I still spend lots of time with students, their families and the community -- Kiwanis, family literacy nights, stargazing, supporting the creations of an exploratorium and an ocean discovery center on our Island of Kaua'i, and leading groups in service learning in our rainforests, in lo 'i kalo (taro fields) and at ancient Hawaiian sites in our napali valleys.
IMAGINATION -- a mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.