BY BRIAN BALOUN
ON Wednesday, November 12, 2014 history was made at Apollo High School. Seven astronauts were introduced to the Apollo and St. Cloud communities for the first time. What an evening it was! Bringing seven astronauts of this caliber together may never happen again. That’s what made this event even more historical!
The seven astronauts have resumes that no one can compare to. The astronauts have flown missions to the Moon (one even walked on it), flown on Skylab (much like the International Space Station), and flown many shuttle missions...Six of them having flown Apollo missions to space.
The day began with the astronauts arriving in St. Cloud at approximately 11:30 am. They immediately, with police escort, went to the St. Cloud Hospital to see some patients. Upon finishing at the hospital, they went to their hotel to relax prior to the event at Apollo. Upon arrival at Apollo they checked in at our District Office to see a pioneering lighting system that is installed and being used in this office. This system was installed by LVX lighting systems from St. Cloud. The lights are a system of “visible light communication” technology (much like the internet through lights)
The astronauts were then shuttled to Apollo’s own “Green Room” (the teacher’s lounge) by golf carts where they had a quick snack and were then brought to the gym to a standing ovation from the public. Once on stage, the astronauts delivered a message to the public that encouraged completing your education, taking chances and risks, and believing in yourself.
To culminate the event, the astronauts signed their names to a picture board that will be hung at Apollo High School in the near future. They also placed their hands in a cement-like mix that will hold their prints for many years to come. Those in attendance then had an opportunity for pictures with the astronauts. They left the next morning after breakfast at the Park Diner.
Like many NASA missions, a patch is made to commemorate the flight when a rocket goes into space. Interestingly, due to the nature of this event, a patch was made for this event … appropriately named “Apollo at Apollo.”
This event was generously brought to our school by former `77 Apollo grad, and CEO of LVX, John Pederson. His goal growing up was to someday have Apollo astronauts come to Apollo High School. Over 44 years after Apollo High School opened its doors, it finally happened. As Pederson stated, “It was a cool idea.”