WINSTON COUNTY - Representative Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, has announced middle school students in House District 17 may apply for one of two scholarships to attend space camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.
Officially known as Space Academy for Leading Students in Alabama (SALSA), the annual event will be held from May 30 - June 4, 2021, with a graduation ceremony scheduled for the final day of the week-long event.
However, the application deadline to earn a scholarship to attend is scheduled for Feb. 27.
“As we did last year, we are attempting to make information about the camp available to the public as quickly as possible,’’ said Estes. “I want all who are interested to have the time needed to research the information and complete the application process.’’
Attendance to the prestigious camp is free, as the Alabama Legislature provides the funding necessary to cover all tuition costs for two students from each of the state’s 140 legislative districts. There are 105 members of the Alabama House of Representatives and 35 members of the Senate.
The camp is open to students ages 12-14. Interested persons are required to complete the application process online. Lawmakers will be informed as early as March which students have been selected from his district to attend. A male and female student from each district will be selected.
The program is designed to promote further interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Scholarships provided to the selected students will cover the cost of meals, lodging, a space camp T-shirt and an official flight suit. Travel to and from the camp is not provided.
Persons wishing to learn more about the camp should visit: spacecamp.com/salsa. Those interested in a direct link to the application may visit: https://spacecamp.smapply.io.
“I would encourage all middle school students who are interested to apply,’’ Estes said. “This is such a wonderful opportunity for students with an interest in our space program, mathematics or science. How many opportunities do our students have to attend a camp of this nature at no cost? This is a wonderful use of our tax dollars—creating and nurturing our students’ interest in higher-level thinking and future exploration.’’
Estes, who represents Marion County and portions of Lamar and Winston counties, also reminded students in his district of another important point.
“Space camp represents a unique opportunity for our students across the district,’’ Estes said. “My sole purpose in providing this information is to make this opportunity available to all who have an interest.
“I have friends whose children have attended Space Camp and used the knowledge gained there to eventually pursue careers in aerospace and other similar sciences.
“I am friends with one particular family whose daughter attended space camp and used this experience to build a career with NASA where she served as the lead engineer for the main space shuttle engine. I hope our students who might have similar dreams will use this opportunity to start their own careers and chase their own dreams.
“Opportunities such as these can be used as a reminder to our students that those who live in a small community, such as those I represent, can achieve great things. I hope a number of our students will apply and see where this might lead. I want our students to never be fearful to pursue the highest of goals. I have full confidence our district will provide two outstanding candidates to be chosen for this program.’’
Last year, Estes worked with officials at the space and rocket center to secure six seats for students in his district, as not every legislative district filled its allotment. The lawmaker will be working to do the same this year, but the legislator stressed he could not guarantee more than the two seats set aside for his district.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.