East Hawaii News

Kea’au Students Build Space Shuttle Replica

January 13, 2016, 2:22 PM HST
* Updated January 13, 1:40 PM
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File photo by Jamilia Epping.

File photo by Jamilia Epping.

Kea’au High School, the host of Pacific International Space Center for Exploration System’s partnered celebration of NASA astronaut and Big Island native Ellison Onizuka, will also be the site of an unveiling of a space shuttle replica on Jan. 28.

Hawai’i Department of Education officials say the reconstruction was completed by students in honor of the 30th anniversary of the NASA Space Shuttle Orbiter Challenger mission and in honor of Onizuka, who lost his life along with the crew members when the shuttle exploded. The reconstruction also followed a chaotic 2014-2015 school year, as lava threatened the Puna area, causing school changes in the Kea’au and Pahoa complexes.

“I’m extremely proud of our students for their maturity and hard work in overcoming a stressful situation and turning it into something positive,” said Principal Dean Cevallos. “The space shuttle project, which was possible through our community partners, is something that not only our island, but also our state, can be proud of. Our students’ talents and abilities are really highlighted in this reconstruction and show how much they have matured and grown.”

The project, which restored a space shuttle replica, was completed by twenty-five students in automotive and construction academies at the high school.

Unveiling of the project is slated for Jan. 28 at 4 p.m. within Kea’au High School’s Automotive and Construction Academy.

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PISCES, Hawai’i Community College, and the Hawai’i Civil Air Patrol partnered with Kea’au High School in the project, with support from K. Taniguchi Ltd., KTA Super Stores, Isemoto Contracting, W.H Shipman, Big Island Toyota/De Luz Chevrolet, and Young Brothers Shipping Company.

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