Re: Planetfest- Shenandoah Valley Style

Subject: Re: Planetfest- Shenandoah Valley Style
Date: Tue, 08 Jul 97 20:54:36 -0400

In <>, on 07/08/97 
   at 08:09 PM, (Marilyn Kennedy) said:

Dear Marilyn,
So great to hear about your own Planetfest.  What lucky students you have.

Yes, I know I have complained about CNN's coverage at times, but I also
appreciate what they have done. I called them MANY times in the last
couple days, trying to get more time for the press conferences, and I
always told them how much I appreciated their coverage, since it was much
more than anyone else had done. However, I kind of think they are a bit
unaware of the the level of info the American people are prepared to
digest.  They have been talking down to us just a tad, translating what
the scientists are saying, so to speak, and at times getting it wrong. It
would be much better if they would just let us listen to the experts
ourselves.  We all can handle it.<G>

I do enjoy their broadcasts from JPL, and their interviews with Donna and
the other scientists.  They are very enjoyable. And they did give us a lot
of coverage on the 4th, when no one else did. I wouldn't have missed the
shots of the exuberant scientists getting their data back  for anything in
the world.  Just delightful.

And I do enjoy John Holliman's (sp?)enthusiasm, and the other gentlmen
doing the interviews at JPL.     

I called channel 13 yesterday, and the woman said they had had no idea
that the American public would want coverage, and that there were going to
be any press conferences from NASA.  She said she was taking notes and
would make sure everyone knew that we all would be interested the next
time something like this occurred. She was very nice and sounded sincere. 
I think there are many media people who simply didn't realize what an
historic event this was going to be.     

>Though I did not make it to Pacedena, WE were there at the
>               "Planetfest" -Shenandoah Valley Style

>Wanting to share the excitement of the the Pathfinder Landing with my
>students, I invited them to an "Open House" the afternoon and evening of
>"landing day." Originally I thought of celebrating this event at school,
>but the red tape involved in opening up the school over the 4th of July
>holiday, finding a classrom that was not being stripped and cleaned and
>piled sky high with furniture, and then setting up the satellite- well,
>it was not long before I realized that it was just easier to invite
>everyone to my house!! I prayed to the weather gods for  good weather
>here on Earth, more specifically "in my little corner of the world"
>because this celebration had to be an outdoor event. My house could no
>way accomodate some 20 excited and enthused students and their parents
>and of course younger siblings. To be truthful at times I questioned the
>santity of this Mars Party and got "sweaty palms" thinking of all the
>logistics involved. Was I crazy or what!!!

>There on my deck I set up three TVs with long snaking wires coming out
>from various windows, the ones  closest to my cable outlets. I also made
>offerings to the "cable gods" entreating them to "stay connected" for the
>Fourth.  From school I  brought over my classroom computer and their Mars
>Rover ( which I could not bear to break" down in June) and their
>Mars-scape. Once the TVs were in place,  the grill was fired and ready to
>go with hotdogs and hamburgers. Parents volunteered to "carry in"
>delicious salads, casseroles, and ice cream machines. If nothing else, I
>knew I could put the more rambunctious kids to work cranking the ice
>cream machine!

>It really was quite a sight -all this assembled on my deck-and quite a
>testimonial to the marvels of technology. There half way up a mountain 
>in the midst of  woods there on my deck  were my students and their
>parents crowded around the 3 TVs, watching the landing of Pathfinder on
>Mars. Being outside surrounded by the "natural elements" of this planet
>seemed only to magnify the magnificence of our landing on Mars.

>As the events of the afternoon and the evening unfolded, I could not help
>but think back to the night when I watched Neil Armstrong take that giant
>leap for mankind. I thought how much  luckier my students were tonight
>because they were not just witnesses to this historic event, but instead
>they were made to feel a part of this Mars Mission, they became
>"connected" through the activities of PTK  -the electronic fieldtrips,
>the fieldjournals, the hands-on activities and investigations, the PET.
>Each component enabled my students to be a part of "space" history. That
>day as we watched  each "success" and  celebration in the  Pathfinder
>Mission Control Center, my students joined in with their own high fives
>and shouts of joy and  exclamations "we did it!"

>The day ended with everyone on the deck watching the fireworks being
>fired off the mountain top--there could not have been a more spectacular
>ending to such a exciting day!!

>And I have to sing the praises of CNN- though their coverage may not
>always have been perfect, it was so much more comprehensive than I
>offered any place elese.

>What a mervelous Fourth of July!! It is one we will remember for the rest
>of our lives!

>Marilyn Wall
>here in the Shenandoah Valley