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Challenger Learning Center 10th Anniversary Events

The Challenger Learning Center (CLC) at Heartland Community College has been a staple of the Central Illinois region for ten years.  The facility has served more than 60,000 people through children’s education and corporate training opportunities. This year, the center will offer a unique and diverse lineup of programs and events that celebrate its past, present and future impact on our communities, including a keynote speech by NASA astronaut Douglas Wheelock.

Highlighting the 10-year celebration activities will be “A Night of Discovery: Celebrating 10 Years at the CLC” from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, February 7.  The evening will present a unique opportunity to hear from NASA Astronaut Col. Douglas H. Wheelock as the CLC celebrates 10 years of inspiring, exploring and learning. Wheelock is a global award winner and international honoree who was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Infantry from West Point in 1983.  He entered flight school in 1984, graduated at the top of his flight class and was designated as an Army Aviator in September 1984.  Wheelock is a veteran of three combat tours and 38 combat missions and has logged more than 7,000 flight hours in 46 different air- and spacecraft. Wheelock has flown aboard the space shuttle, the International Space Station and the Russian Soyuz TMA spacecraft.  He has accumulated more than 178 days in space and has conducted six spacewalks totaling 43 hours and 30 minutes.  Wheelock also responded to an emergency shutdown of the space station’s external cooling system and was presented the American Red Cross 2010 Hero in Space Award for his efforts to restore the cooling system to full function.  A meet and greet will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. with the presentation starting promptly at 6:30. There is no fee to attend this event, but registration is strongly encouraged.

Other programs and events include:

  • Fly Your Sweetie to the Moon
    6 to 8:30 p.m., February 11 (adults only). This magical evening begins with a candlelight Italian dinner. Next, join the CLC staff as they fly 15 couples to the Moon. Cake and punch will be provided half way through the mission. Each couple receives a photo, flowers and chocolates at the end of the evening. Cost: $90/couple.
  • CLC FunnyRaiser
    6 to 9 p.m., Friday, February 28 (adults only). Hear amateur comedians attempt to tickle some funny bones and support the CLC scholarship fund. Food, cash bar, silent auction and crowd favorite contest to take place. Reserve or buy tickets by calling (309) 268-8110. Cost: $20/person in advance or $25/person at the door.
  • Spring Break: A Student’s Guide to the Solar System
    9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, March 24 and 25 (for students in 1st through 6th grades). Go to Pluto and be home in time for supper during this two-day session. Learn more about the solar system, conduct science experiments and build a spacecraft model as we set out to explore the solar system. Students will need to bring a lunch each day. Cost: $100/person.
  • Spring Break: Messy Matter Chemistry Challenge
    9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, March 26 and 27 (for students in 1st through 6th grades). Mix two things together and find out what happens in this fun, if not exactly tidy, two-day session. Experiment with the properties of matter and test various ingredients to create cool chemical reactions. Participants will even make their own tie-dye shirts! Students will need to bring a lunch each day. Cost: $100/person.
  • Rendezvous with a COMETdy: Wacky Space Adventure
    6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 1 (adults only). Think space travel is always a serious affair? No way! Learn about the fun side of space travel as the crew laughs their way across the galaxy. Pizza will be served at 6 p.m. and the mission to rendezvous with a comet will start shortly thereafter. Costumes are optional, but welcome! Cost: $20/person (includes pizza & soda).
  • Second Saturday Sessions:
    • Mars Madness
      9 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 8 (for students in 4th grade and up). March Madness? How about Mars Madness? Find out what it’s like to play basketball on Mars. Enjoy hands-on activities to learn about Mars, choose a mission exploration objective, and take a voyage to Mars. Cost: $20/person.
    • Earth Day Mission
      9 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, April 12 (for students in 4th grade and up). Normal, we have a problem! A major earth event has taken place and astronauts are needed for an urgent space mission. Investigate how natural events can impact the Earth’s spheres, including its inhabitants. Then lift-off to save the planet and launch a satellite. Cost: $20/person.
    • Parent & Child Space Day
      9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 10 (all ages). Learn about rockets, the solar system and beyond through fun, hands-on activities. Take a journey through the solar system, learn about the planets and explore NASA missions. Then build and launch (weather permitting) a “rocket.” Cost: $20/person/pair.

For more information about the Challenger Learning Center at Heartland Community College, visit www.challengerlearningcenter.com. For more information about Heartland Community College, visit www.heartland.edu.