A Tribute to Clyde Tombaugh

from Marilyn Kennedy Wall from Bridgewater, Virginia

Teacher Marilyn Kennedy Wall writes:

This past Sunday, as I was reading the Washington Post, I too learned about the death of Clyde Tombaugh. I was a bit surprised by this sad announcement, because I was not aware that he had been ill, and I had not seen or heard any mention of his death on the news. The Post wrote a wonderful article about his life, his discoveries, and accomplishments; it was a very nice tribute for such an important man. I thought about posting this information on the PTK advocate list, but was reluctant to do so with the recent postings about improper messages.

On Monday, I shared this news with last year's 4th grade students, because Dr. Tombaugh had become a very REAL person to them because of our activities with "Live from the Hubble" project and the 90th birthday party celebration that came about through the LFH project. My students started to reminisce about the presents they had made and sent to Dr. Tombaugh - the video with my students singing Happy Birthday Dr. Tombaugh, and then their Kid Pix slide show complete with their "Child of the Universe" song, their Pluto Kid Pix birthday cards, and their hand-painted Pluto space T-shirt.

While my students were talking about the party, I began to realize that this group of students (myself included) were indeed very lucky, because for one small moment in time we were able to "touch" a "discoverer." For one small moment in time my students had a connection with an important person--a person whose explorations and discoveries ultimately had an impact on the world.

Most of us go through our lives knowing other quite ordinary people, but through our involvement with PTK and the Hubble project, my students were able to "meet" and "interact with" and even sing "Happy Birthday" to this man of discovery; and, in doing so, it showed my students that "explorers" and "discoverers" are not just men of the past, of "long ago." Discoverers and explorers ARE the men/women of today, people of their time. And with this knowledge and because of this connection, my students just might become the discovers of tomorrow.

So thank you Geoff, Jan , and Marc, all that you did through PTK to bring about the connection of Dr. Tombaugh with our students. Looking forward to tomorrow....."