STORIES
Teachers Heroes

Christa McAuliffe

by Lily from Williamsville

Christa McAuliffe is a hero because she set a great example for people. First, she did that by training long hours and going up to space, following her dreams, doing what she loved and being the best she could be. She was also a hero not just for others, but she was actually a hero for her kids, eight year old Scott and three year old Caroline. Although they were confused when their mom had died, they still would always remember her as their greatest hero and someone who was always was there for them.

Christa McAuliffe was born on September 2nd 1948. Since she was a kid, she was always energetic and enthusiastic. Her real name was Sharon Christa Corrigan, but her parents simply called her Christa. When she was a baby, Christa's dad was a college student, so her parents and she started off with not so much money. But, that problem improved when he graduated and earned a degree in business administration. Christa McAuliffe had two younger brothers. She proved to be a good sister, as she taught them how to sew and knit. Christa McAuliffe was also very active and involved in a lot of things too. She took voice, dance, and piano, guitar lessons, performed in school plays and also did Girl Scouts. Christa McAuliffe got married in August 1970, deeply in love with Steve McAuliffe. After a while, in September 1976, they had their first son Scott McAuliffe. Three years later, they had another baby, but this time it was a girl, Caroline McAuliffe. Two months after Caroline's birth, Christa went back to teaching. She worked at a high school called Bow Memorial School. Then, there was an assistant principal job that was open. Frustrated, Christa could not get the job because they weren't ready for a woman to be in charge.

Christa McAuliffe challenged to be the first teacher in space. She thought that she was not ready but she let that thought drain and she believed in herself. Christa trained and tried for a long time. Before Christa McAuliffe knew it, she was having a blast training, but she never thought it would be this fun. Christa McAuliffe had to stay in the Johnson Space Center for several months. She missed her family and home, but she knew she would see them after. The problem was that when the NASA was ready for her and the others to go up into space, the weather was so cold that they had to cancel. That problem wasn't the worst. Finally, they went up in space at 11:38am. The ice formation on the shuttle (because of the cold weather) caused the Challenger to explode and fall back to earth 73 seconds in the air, letting the passengers (including Christa McAuliffe) fall into the ocean strapped helplessly inside. All were dead.

Christa McAuliffe had many accomplishments. As Department of Education Director, William Bennett and Vice President George H.W. Bush looked on, Christa McAuliffe accepted being selected as NASA's first teacher in space. Then, the Vice President presented Christa with a statue. They made it for her because they believed she was a teacher reaching for the sky. "I'm still kind of floating", Christa McAuliffe said as she held back tears when they asked how she felt. "I don't know when I'll come down to earth." Christa became an instant celebrity in her hometown. She was the guest of honor in a parade in August 6, 1985. "It's going to be a wonderful ride", Christa said, "You know people come up to me and say I really admire you but I wouldn't want to do it. I can't understand that. If you had a chance wouldn't you want to do it?" The television appearances and interviews were fun for Christa, but being famous wasn't what it was about. One NASA official said "It's not like she puts on a suit and off she goes." And that was right. Christa McAuliffe had to train. She was off to Houston, Texas to spend her time training for the next four months. But, Christa never thought it would be the last four months of her life. Christa McAuliffe was a kind person. She was so helpful to others and she set an amazing example for the community. Christa didn't teach because she wanted to, Christa taught kids because she believed she could help, and she loved seeing the smile on her student's faces. Christa McAuliffe wasn't just a hero for the community or her family, but she was also a hero for her students. After Christa McAuliffe's death all of her students from each and every school she taught missed her but they knew she was and always will be their favorite person and teacher.

Christa McAuliffe was honored for being the brave ordinary teacher that believed in her and others, who went up into space on the Challenger. Although, Steve McAuliffe later married someone else, he still remembered Christa as a great mother and hero. Cheryl McNair, who was married to astronaut Ronald McNair remembered "I watched liftoff, and the shuttle went straight up. It turned down and I knew something was wrong.". On their last full day of the mission, they read a memorial in honor for the seven great people who had died aboard The Challenger, especially Christa McAuliffe.

One trait that helped Christa become successful was that she was a good sport and never gave up. Christa was very excited and was never really bored of training. Another quality was that she was brave. Christa McAuliffe was brave because she knew something could go wrong, but she went up into space anyways because she wanted to be a role model for people and she wanted to be an inspiration for the space program. Finally, another quality trait is she was loving and caring. She was those things because she always cooperated with the space program, she taught her brothers to sew and knit, and she never was thinking just about herself when she was famous.

One important lesson I learned was that you should do what you love and dream of. I also learned that you should work hard and never give up on yourself because that's just letting you down. I think someone else would learn to follow your hopes and try your hardest just like Christa McAuliffe did and that's why everyone will never forget her and always remember her as a hero.

Page created on 12/19/2011 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 12/19/2011 12:00:00 AM

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