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Tampa Bay high school students make giant leap for education at space camp

Posted at 3:39 PM, Mar 03, 2020

TAMPA, Fla. — Two Tampa Bay high school students have made one small step for teens, and one giant leap for education.

They just returned from a week at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Alabama. It was part of a prestigious program offered by Honeywell.

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Recreating a moon walk was one of several hands-on exercises Sara Arroyave, of Robinson High School, and Joseph Bonga, of Alonso High School, participated in during the 10th annual Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy.

“Like you would take the same force that you would use to take a normal step on earth, you would go like three times the height, it was awesome,” said Arroyave, describing the moon walk experience. “I’ve always had an innate interest in astronomy and space and all those things.”

They were among 296 students, from 45 countries, to be selected to attend the space camp.

“Greater appreciation for the astronauts and what they do, because it’s very challenging, you have to be mentally prepared and also physically prepared for the forces that apply,” said Bonga.

Bonga said some simulators could really make your head spin, fortunately not your stomach.

“I was like, ‘um, why would we go on this after eating lunch,’ but he said the stomach is the center of gravity, so when you are spinning around, the only thing that’s not moving is your stomach, that was a really cool experience,” said Bonga.

Arroyave got to be the captain of communications for a space mission.

“So, I had to switch between channels, and I had to talk to people at mission control and I had to command people at the orbiter,” said Arroyave.

Both these students said, an experience like this, is tremendous motivation for how they choose a college and a career.

“The space industry is really making a mark on humanity,” said Arroyave.

“To walk on the moon, not a lot of people have done that,” said Bonga.