MAYOR BOLLWAGE JOINS STUDENTS IN TRIBUTE TO 30th ANNIVERSARY OF CHALLENGER EXPLOSION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kelly Vence
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MAYOR BOLLWAGE JOINS STUDENTS IN TRIBUTE TO 30th ANNIVERSARY OF CHALLENGER EXPLOSION 
 
ELIZABETH, NJ— February 4, 2016— Earlier yesterday morning at 10:00 a.m., Mayor J. Christian Bollwage was joined by City and Board of Education officials as well as students from Elizabeth schools, at the 30th Anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion Commemoration Ceremony in Winfield Scott Park. 
 
On January  28, 1986, at 11:39 a.m., people across the country watched in horror as the space shuttle Challenger exploded over the Atlantic Ocean, killing everyone on board. It remains one of the worst accidents in the history of the American space program. The disaster claimed the lives of astronauts Francis “Dick” Scobee, Michael Smith, Christa McAuliffe, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka and Gregory Jarvis.
 
“Seventy-three seconds after take-off, seven courageous, highly trained and remarkable astronauts lost their lives aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger,” said Mayor J. Christian Bollwage. “The Challenger was special, because for the first time a teacher, Christa McAuliffe, was going to be trained as an astronaut - to share the joy of teaching from space. It does not matter whether you know about this historic event because you lived through it or because you learned about it -  because communities like ours will always remember the valuable contributions made by these brave explorers.”
 
Christa McAuliffe embodied the hope and excitement of space flight - a program that was re-defining the word astronaut. Mrs. McAuliffe, a high school teacher from Concord, New Hampshire, won a nationwide competition to go on the Challenger mission and was going to broadcast two lessons from space to students around the country. Her family and friends were present at the launch and schools across the United States tuned in to a live broadcast.
 
However, shortly after the countdown had been completed and Challenger rose into the atmosphere, an unimaginable explosion occurred, causing confusion and disbelief, quickly followed by horror and heartache. All seven astronauts lost their lives in that moment - husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers - friends, gone - as the world watched.
 
“Today, many people paused to reflect on the lives, hopes and mission of the seven crew members on board the Challenger,” said Assistant Superintendent Frank Cuesta. “We learned many lessons from the loss of that Space Shuttle and three decades later, it is all part of history. I am very proud of our City and students for taking time to remember that fateful day. It should never be forgotten.”
 
Officials in attendance: Union County Freeholder Sergio Granados, Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Cedeño, Assistant Superintendent Frank Cuesta, Director of Student Services Aaron Goldblatt, Supervisor of Social Studies Bruce Elflein, Principal Michael Ojeda and Board of Education Members Maria Carvalho and Stanley Neron.
 
Several students were in attendance from schools around Elizabeth including: Halsey Academy students: Alexis Lora, Pedro Rivas, Ivan Munoz; Dwyer Academy: Mohammed Chaudry, Estuardo Fajardo, Le'Chelle Miller; Jefferson Arts Academy: Jefferson- Greg Markowitz, Briany Santos, Arly Rubens and Winfield Scott School #2: Carolina Mosquera, Xavier Musa, Arlene Tejada. 
 
To learn about more of our events, please visit www.elizabethnj.org. 
 
 
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