Spotlights
Dulaney High School throws interstellar launch party for a favorite son 
06/05/2014

Spotlight

Scores of Dulaney High School students, teachers, parents, and community members gathered on a sunny, late May afternoon at the school to cheer Cockeysville native and Dulaney Class of 1993 graduate Gregory Reid Wiseman as he prepared to become the third Baltimore County Public Schools alumnus to blast off into space.

The guest of honor couldn't make it, though;  as Dulaney's students, neighbors, and a few of Wiseman's former teachers watched through a live video feed, Wiseman was strapped into a Soyuz spacecraft at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on the plains of Kazakhstan – 6,038 miles and 10 time zones away from the Timonium campus. 

Minutes later, the crowd – packed into the school's satellite cafeteria, of course – cheered as Wiseman and two other astronauts roared into space, headed for a six-month stay on the International Space Station orbiting more than 200 miles above the Earth. It was the first space flight for Wiseman.

The launch party was a point of pride for Dulaney and the Cockeysville community as well as an afternoon of fun and instructional activities. Outside, Dulaney science students helped children launch water rockets of their own. Inside, former NASA astronaut Dr. Don Thomas answered questions about space flight and served as commentator to the live feed from Kazakhstan. Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz dropped by and presented to Dulaney Principal Lynda Whitlock a proclamation that designated May 28 as "Reid Wiseman Day" in Baltimore County. An astronaut's space suit drew curious onlookers in one part of the cafeteria, while children colored space-themed pictures in another part.

Reaching for the stars is nothing new for BCPS graduates. Locally, Wiseman follows in the footsteps of Commander Robert Curbeam, a 1980 graduate of Woodlawn High School, and Dr. Thomas Jones, a 1973 graduate of Kenwood High School, both of whom became NASA astronauts during the space shuttle program a decade ago.  

Wiseman, who already has become a sensation in the Twitter universe for his posts from space, is scheduled to arrive back on terra firma on November 10.  

Story and photos by Charles Herndon, BCPS communications specialist
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