Lee County students celebrate moon landing 50th anniversary with ISS

Reporter: Nicole Gabe Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Astronaut Jessica Meri talks to students and attendees at Fort Myers High School live from the International Space Station. Those in space and on Earth celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. Credit: WINK News.

Twenty Lee County students took a trip out of this world Thursday without leaving Southwest Florida. They all celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing along with the International Space Station.

Hundreds of people packed Fort Myers High School to talk to astronaut Jessica Meri live from the International Space Station.

“I started saying I wanted to be an astronaut since I was 5 years old,” said Oren Philpott, a fifth grade student. “And I always had this idea that I really wanted to be in space looking back at the Earth.”

The event was a hit with all the students. Those we spoke to were both excited and encouraged by the experience. Students such as Oren showed great enthusiasm for the space field.

“It made me want to go to space a little bit more, to go and explore the unknown,” Oren said.

But he’s not so sure about being an astronaut. Oren told us he really liked the event’s other special guest, Steven Zoeller, who worked as an advanced planner on Apollo 11.

“The astronauts are the tip of the spear,” Zoeller said. “And what a lot of people forget is the spear behind the tip.”

Zoeller hopes Oren follows in his footsteps.

“Maybe he’ll help someone take the next ‘giant leap for mankind,'” Zoeller said. “We are going to have to have people there that are advanced in agriculture, that can grow things, that can prepare food, medical, they can take care of people, and that sort of thing.”

The day’s space talk was part of Lee County’s “50 years, 50 schools” initiative. Fifty schools across the district joined in space-themed lessons and activities.

“I really think it would be cool to do what he does,” Oren said.

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