Gary McCollum recalls roaming the halls of J.L. Long Middle School as an adolescent some 40 years ago.
The 58-year-old Life and Microgravity Director for NASA’s Flight Systems Division recently returned to his old stomping grounds to make a special presentation.
Before a room full of students and faculty, McCollum presented a well-traveled T-shirt to Principal Al Harris. Make no mistake, the shirt was not just any old piece of cotton. It was a J.L. Long faculty T-shirt that McCollum arranged to have flown on the June 1996 Spacelab mission.
“I feel like there are things I can do to benefit others,” says McCollum, who also has arranged for banners from Woodrow Wilson High School and East Texas State University to be flown in space.
“I’ve worked for the space program for 30 years and have always wanted to return something to my schools.”
The T-shirt was designed by art teacher Earline Green and features the names of the school’s staff and faculty on the front.
“It (McCollum’s gesture) is evidence of how a good educational experience is never forgotten,” Harris says.
“It’s always gratifying to hear that schools and teachers are still given credit for the jobs they do.”
Teacher Pam Woodberry had been working with McCollum since 1994 to coordinate Long memorabilia’s trip to space. Woodberry says a Long pennant originally was scheduled for the mission, but the pennant was scratched in favor of the shirt.
Students from Woodberry’s pre-AP English classes were on-hand to witness the presentation and watch a video of the mission.
“It’s extremely important for young people to have a connection with something as important as the space program,” Harris says.
“The fact that Mr. McCollum came back helps make that connection.”
News & Notes
Lee Librarian Honored: Pat Clark, a librarian at Robert E. Lee Elementary, recently won an all-expenses-paid trip to visit libraries in Great Britain from the Dallas branch of the English-Speaking Union. Clark was selected based on application essays, credentials and interviews with group members. Clark will visit London, Edinburg, Wales and Oxford during the trip.
Essay Contest Winners: The Dallas Public Schools Student Leadership and Prevention Program and the Rotary Club of Dallas recently announced winners of the “Laws of Life” essay contest. The students were asked to express the ideals and principles that led them to a drug-free lifestyle. First place winners included Jerome Parker of Gaston Middle School and Macy Munn of J.L. Long Middle School. Andrew Rogers of J.L. Long was a second-place winner and Bessie Waddill, also of J.L. Long, was a third-place winner.
Bishop Lynch Soccer Team Repeats: Bishop Lynch boys’ soccer team defeated Fort Worth Nolan to earn its second straight state title. Seniors Nick Garcia, Peter Adamczyk and Shawn Gallagher, junior Pete Kryzkowski and freshman Patrick Sullivan were named All-State. Garcia was named the Gatorade Circle of Champions National High School Player of the Year by Gatorade and Scholastic Coach Magazine.
Bishop Lynch Wrestlers Take State Title: The Bishop Lynch wrestling team earned its second consecutive state title. All-State Champions were seniors Marshall Kempson, Matt Thomas and Josh Wallish, juniors Roy Juricek and Brent Sturman, and sophomore Bo Walker.
Lady Friars Capture Crown: The Bishop Lynch girls’ basketball team captured its ninth consecutive state championship, a national record for consecutive state championships, by defeating Trinity Christian Academy. All-State players were seniors Devon Linex, Wendy Holleman and Kellie Dickie. The Texas Association of Basketball Coaches named Holleman to its All-State team.
Debate Team Needs Donations: The Woodrow Wilson High School Debate Team is seeking donations from local businesses and residents to provide money for supplies, fees and other expenses. In return, the Debate Team will distribute flyers advertising supporters. To make a donation or for more information, call Debbie Nicholas at 972-224-6309, Alicia Hipps at 214-698-1736 or Olivia Ortegon at 214-275-7767.
Fina Finalists Named: Todd Gaspard of Woodrow was chosen as one of three regional finalists for the 12th Annual Fina/Dallas Morning News All-State Scholar-Athlete Team. Regional finalists were chosen from approximately 2,600 applicants representing more than 935 public and private high schools. Candidates were judged on leadership and involvement in school and community activities.
AP Scholars Recognized: Woodrow’s John Hammond was recently named an AP Scholar with Honor by the College Board for earning a score of 3 or above on four or more Advanced Placement examinations. Hammond was one of six Dallas Public Schools students to attain this honor.
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