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Apollo at Apollo: St. Cloud high school welcomes NASA astronauts


A St. Cloud high school is welcoming seven NASA astronauts, some of whom were part of the Apollo space program for which the school was named.

The astronauts will address community members and Apollo High School students Wednesday before signing a plaque that will be attached to the Apollo test capsule, which sits on the grounds of the high school, WJON reports.

They'll also be signing and hand-imprinting a 20-foot by 8-foot graphic of famed astronaut John Young saluting the American flag on the moon, commemorating their visit.

The astronauts attending the Apollo at Apollo event include: Jack Lousma (Skylab 3), Walt Cunningham (Apollo 7), Jerry Carr (Skylab 4), Al Worden (Apollo 15), Charlie Duke (Apollo 16), Ed Gibson (Skylab 4) and Jon McBride, a former pilot of the space shuttle Challenger, WJON says.

The effort to bring the astronauts to the high school was headed by John Pederson, a 1977 Apollo High School graduate, self-described "space nut" and CEO of LVX System, which is currently in collaboration with NASA on visible light communication technology, the St. Cloud Times says.

LVX System is hosting the event to coincide with the launch of its Visible Light Communication technology into the commercial market.

In the wave of attention from the visiting astronauts, LVX System will demonstrate the LVX-LED technology, which "harnesses light photons to carry high-speed data," according to the St. Cloud Times.

The event's Facebook page says LVX and the Astronauts Memorial Foundation are "committed to the mission of inspiring young minds to explore human space flight and technology (STEM)."

Many astronauts have visited schools in recent months to encourage students to consider putting greater emphasis on their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.

Last month, Joe Acaba, a NASA astronaut, spoke at the Texas Tech Whitcare College of Engineering where he said focusing on STEM courses is so necessary that it becomes important for the future of the country, FOX said.

Mae C. Jemison, a former NASA astronaut and first woman of color to go into space, said earlier this year that "demystifying" STEM and "revitalizing" it by making it more exciting will help reinvigorate STEM sectors, U.S. News reported.

She also said that outside of those who have chosen STEM educations, it is important for all students to be at least "STEM literate" because so many aspects of life are connected to these areas, U.S. News said.

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