Although Weaver High School senior Bobbie Ray likely didn’t need any more incentive to be excited about her trip this week to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Robert decided there wasn’t any better preparation than to sit down together and watch his old VHS copy of his favorite movie, SpaceCamp.
“I’d recommend anyone watch the movie,” Robert said of the 1986 film about teenagers who accidently get launched into space. “They don’t make movies for kids like that these days.”
“Not too many kids get an experience like this these days,” Bobbie interjected.
Bobbie is one of 227 high school students representing 26 states and 30 countries attending the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy this week. The program is designed for senior and junior high school students to get hands-on, interactive experience with science- and technology-orientated workshops and team-building exercises.
“The students will meet scientists, engineers and former astronauts, who help reinforce core leadership competencies and share their first-hand experience,” Kerry Kennedy, Honeywell’s media relations specialist, wrote in a press release.
Bobbie is one of just three students from Alabama in the program — a fact she said couldn’t be happier about.
Although she’s never been out of the South, that’ll change after she graduates and joins the Army, and she said she’s craving the chance to meet the people she’ll be spending the week with in Huntsville.
“I’ve just always been very outgoing,” she said. “I’ve never been out of the country, and so to meet people from all over the world, that’s really what I’m most excited about.”
Bobbie hopes traveling, meeting new people and seeing the world are in her future, but to get to the academy, she said, she had to demonstrate how she’s made a difference in her own community. Among the qualities Honeywell looked for in candidates were leadership and teamwork skills. As Bobbie rattled off her various extracurricular activities — sports, band, volunteer coach for her church youth basketball team — as well as her 3.7 GPA, it was easy to understand why the well-rounded high-schooler was selected.
“I just like to do different things,” she said. “I don’t like being tied to one thing for the rest of my life. If you do one thing for your whole life and never do anything else, you’ll just think you’re satisfied because you don’t know anything else. So why not try other things?”
Bobbie said she doesn’t know for sure what things she’ll be trying this week, but would like a chance to play the role of pilot for her week at the academy. And while Bobbie won't be reliving the plot of her dad’s favorite movie by getting launched into space, she knows the teamwork it took for the characters to survive in SpaceCamp will be the same skills she’ll need to succeed at the academy and in her career.
“Everything is just about how you have to work as a team, or you fail,” Bobbie said. “That’s my whole life. Working as a team.”
Staff Writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.