Children cope with Columbia disaster - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Children cope with Columbia disaster

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February 3, 2003

Albany - On Saturday, the world watched as Columbia fell apart in the skies over Texas. Many of the eyes glued to the television that day were those of children. On Monday, South Georgia teachers urged students to talk about the disaster and cope with the loss of some of America's most admired heroes - Astronauts.

Doral McGhee tackled the unwanted task of explaining yet another national tragedy to her fifth graders at Morningside Elementary. "Many of the kids are depressed by the Columbia disaster. We want to encourage them to talk about the accident," said McGhee.

The students observed a moment of silence for the seven astronauts that were killed Saturday. Class time was spent talking about the disaster. "I was sad for the astronauts and their families," said fifth grader Kimberly Stallworth. "But, accidents happen and the astronauts knew the trip would be dangerous. They did what they loved to do."

McGhee is asking her students to write essays about the accident so they can express their fears and concerns. Across town, the subject was the same in the high-technology class at Westover High School.

"I want these students to know the world lost many vital scientific experiments along with the crew on Columbia," said teacher Susan Mercer. The high-tech class of 1999 shared a special bond with the Shuttle Colombia. The space ship housed their prized scientific experiment.

"Our butterfly experiment went up in the shuttle. We studied the metamorphosis of butterflies in space," said advisor Paula Noble. "The experiment was a success and so was the 1999 space voyage." But, that luck wasn't on board Saturday.

"I want students to remember the people on the shuttle and how they felt when they heard the tragic news," said Mercer. "They need to learn from the crews teamwork and passion of learning and take that lesson with them wherever they go." Even in death, the astronauts taught students a lesson with their passion for learning and dreaming.

The high-technology class was planning to watched the STS-114 Shuttle lift-off on February 28th at Cape Canaveral. Of course, that trip was canceled.

Posted at 6:15PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com