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UH Hilo to honor Astronaut Ellison Onizuka with second annual science day event

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Date: Thursday, January 3, 2002
Contact: Walter Dudoit, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

Astronaut Ellison Onizuka

5th-12th graders from the Big Island's public and private schools will spend the day in college classrooms when the University of Hawai`i at Hilo hosts the Second Annual Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Science Day on Saturday, January 26, 2001, beginning at 9:00 a.m. The event, sponsored by UH Hilo, American Savings and the Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center, is free and open to the public. Snacks and lunch will be available for purchase.

The registration deadline is Friday, January 18. The collaborative effort between members of the Big Island scientific community, the State Department of Education, NASA and UH Hilo faculty will feature scientific workshops, sessions and hands-on exhibits. Interactive displays will be set up on the Mookini Library Lanai, in addition to 20 "break out" sessions in the morning. Onizuka, who dreamed of becoming an astronaut while growing up in the coffee fields of Kona, was a frequent visitor to the classroom, where he would urge students to take an interest in the study of science.

He lost his life on January 28, 1986, when the space shuttle "Challenger" exploded 73 seconds after liftoff. Many schools across the country help to keep his memory alive with science education days held in his honor. "Educational outreach is an important component of our mission at UH Hilo," said Chancellor Rose Tseng. "Ellison Onizuka's story has inspired countless youngsters to pursue lofty dreams, and to think about the role higher education can play in making those dreams come true." Registration forms for the Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Science Day are available through the principals' offices at public and private schools throughout the island. For additional information and/or to fax in registration forms, please call (808) 933-3912.

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