A team of students at Central Junior High became one of five junior high teams in the nation to win the NASA WEAR competition and will be heading to Langley Research Facility later this month, all expenses paid.

The students created a helmet and suit designed to combat deep space radiation and to assist with the moon to Mars mission.

“I was shocked to hear our name,” team co-sponsor Shonda Kelsey said. “I was like, ‘No they did not just call our name!’”

“It feels unreal,” ninth-grader Carson Bashaw said.

“It feels weird for a small town school going to a big place like Langley,” eighth-grader Callie Kelsey said.

Only four of the eight students who participated in the project will get to go because the trip had a cut-off age of 13. In a previous story by The Lufkin Daily News, Shonda Kelsey said she was very proud of the students who participated knowing they wouldn’t get to go on the trip if their team won.

“We are super proud of our Bulldogs and how hard they worked to accomplish this,” co-sponsor Lisa Reid said.

For ninth-grader Randy Stephens, this will be his first plane ride. He said he thinks everything will sink in better when they touch down.

“I’ve always been curious what the space ship will look like that will last for six months up there,” Randy said.

“I want to know what the habitat will look like and what it will be made of,” Russell said.

The team said they hoped their designs would be created in an actual prototype that they could touch and feel.

“I want to know how they can test our design without killing people,” Carson said.

The students spent several weeks designing their helmet and suit and they created a design and a video advertising their work. In a Facebook Live event, the leaders of the competition called Central Junior High out specifically, congratulating them on their video and its special effects.

To view the team’s video, visit https://youtu.be/W5tYQLnij7U.

Grace Juarez’s email address is grace.juarez@lufkindailynews.com.