Astronaut Commander Shane Kimbrough sent the attached image back to Earth on Mother's Day 2021 for the Savannah-Chatham E-Learning Academy (SCELA) Student Astronaut Club. Earlier in the year, Carol and Bob Nickels, the commander's in-laws and SCELAnaut supporters, ordered a set of face masks for the team that featured a patch the team had created as part of the annual Student Astronaut Challenge. The masks, made by Landing's resident Lori Miles, completed their competition uniform.
Unbeknownst to the team, Mrs. Nickels, or “Grandma Nickels" as she is fondly known to the team, had given Kimbrough a team mask to take up into space when his mission launched on April 22nd. Yesterday, while watching Earth from the cupola in the ISS, Shane photographed the weightless mask floating in front of the cupola windows. His words, above the images, explain the view. This was the inaugural year for the Savannah-Chatham eLearning Academy and the year has been one of many firsts for the school and district. Virtual classrooms and curricula top the list followed by virtual extra-curricular activities and competitions like this Student Astronaut STEM club, dubbed the SCELAnauts. This talented group of 8th grade students includes Isabella Frazier, who drew the dragon that appears on the patch, along with teammates J'Kaalah Cole, Simone Hicks, Ava Jarvis, Kaeleb Willcox, Janice Miranda, Chy'Andrea Jenkins, and Jordan Louder who all collaborated on the patch design. In February, the team competed in three events in this year's virtual Student Astronaut Challenge and walked away with a National Championship (1st Place in the Design Challenge). Carolyn Rethwisch, SCELA's 8th grade science teacher, coached the team with coaching support from Dr. Barbara Serianni (Georgia Southern University) and assistant SCELA coaches: Jacqueline Scanlan, Jessica Tatro, Chelsea Zimmerman, Arlethia Brown-Hall, Patricia Adams, Rachel Wells and Lauren Evans.
Here is the original patch as designed by the SCELAnauts: