Letter to the Editor

The Gatepost of Jan. 29 featuring Christa McAuliffe’s legacy was a beautiful issue and well-done, especially as you were under-the-gun to include the Thursday night anniversary remembrance event.

Copies were shared with many alumni at our Executive Board meeting and at a recent alumni event.

Some of the Independent Association of Framingham State Alumni Board members knew Christa and her family and still keep in touch.

I took particular note of the editorial, especially since it advocated keeping Christa’s memory alive.  Many current initiatives could point to her for inspiration.  She was inclusive, ahead of the curve and troubled teens would find their way to her doorstep.  She also inspired students by pointing out that she might be an ordinary person, but she was getting to do something extraordinary and that they could, too.

Chosen from over 11,000 applicants, Christa’s enthusiastic and earnest down-to-earth personality gave the “bounce” NASA was looking for to promote interest in the space program.  She also boosted the teaching profession and inspired many to go into teaching.  Probably no other alumna has been on as many national and international magazines, newspapers and websites as Christa was and is.  She is the subject of numerous books, documentaries and a made-for-TV movie.  Schools, scholarships, fellowships and other awards are named after her, as well as an asteroid and a moon crater.  She also received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

At more than 40 Challenger Learning Centers around the globe, including the one at FSU, the legacies of Christa and her crewmates have educated over 4.4 million students.

Given all that and more, I hope that Christa Corrigan McAuliffe and her legacy will not be diminished to the point of “Christa who?” as more time goes by, especially at her alma mater.

A hometown girl, a commuter, a good, not outstanding student – Christa made history following her dream as she observed:  “What are we doing here?  We’re reaching for the stars!”

As alumni know, the education and experiences at Framingham State provide the means for students here to follow and realize their dreams, too.  Hold tight to the fact that if a 37-year-old high school social studies teacher and mother of two could get into the space program, what life goals of yours can come true?

Debbie Regan Cleveland
Executive Director Independent Association of Framingham State Alumni