Richardson Elementary ends year with once in a lifetime experience 

By Josh Beavers

Richardson Elementary closed the school year with a once in a lifetime trip to NASA in Houston. 

The 5th graders took the trip for the Stars and Stem evening experience and tram tour.  The purpose of this trip was to expose students to real-life applications for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and to have a fun time. 

“This is an educational experience, not just a field trip,” Richardson Principal Michelle Finley said.  “Our students will never forget this trip.  Some of our students may never get the opportunity to have these types of experiences any other way.”

Finley said that even a trip to the Rainforest Cafe for lunch is something that enhances the experience for students.  

“Time with their friends before moving on to junior high next year is an added bonus,” she said. “They are exposed to a variety of career fields that they may want to pursue one day.”

Finley said students were selected for the trip by teacher recommendations, grades, classroom behavior, and attendance. Students sold candy bars during the year to help offset their out of pocket cost to attend.  

The students have been looking forward to this field trip all year. 

According to student Brook Corcoran, “there were a lot a fun activities that showed us and explained to us how things at NASA work.”

Student Julia McKeithen said, “I enjoyed the marshmanaut activity the most.’

Student Heavenly Frazier said, “the egg launch was my favorite because my groups egg survived.”

Student Brooklyn Grappe said, “building the rocket ship and launching it to see how high it would go was fun!”

Finley said this has been a 5th grade ESR field trip for many years, beginning when Mrs. Oreata Banks became  principal. 

“When I was named principal, we continued the annual end of year trip to NASA until 2019,” she said. “Our trip had to be canceled in 2020.  We have not been able to go in the last three years due to COVID shutdowns and field trip limitations.”

She said they were so excited to get school board approval early this year to bring back our NASA field trip.  

“Mrs. Robin Herman, 5th grade science and social studies teacher, did an outstanding job coordinating the entire trip,” Finley said.   “ It is a huge undertaking, and involves a full year of prep and planning.  I want to thank the parents and guardians that have entrusted us to take their student(s) out of state for an overnight experience.  As a parent I know how hard that can be because we worry. We had many  parents that chose to attend with us as well.  They follow our charter buses and take care of their own expenses, but do get to join us for all NASA activities on the 2-day experience.  We look forward to taking many more students in the future.”