Our weekly roundup of Toasts & Roasts:
A toast to the students at Central Junior High who are giving up part of their summer vacation to take part in the NASA WEAR competition. The NASA Wearable Equipment for Averting Radiation Challenge allows teams from junior high and high schools around the country to compete in researching and designing a helmet and body suit to combat deep space radiation to assist with the moon to Mars mission. There is only a certain amount of radiation a human can handle in one lifetime before it starts to negatively impact the body. The radiation will stop a person’s bone marrow from producing red blood cells. Because the trip to Mars will take about six months, the astronauts have to take precautions against prolonged contact with radiation. The Central team will be creating mock models of a helmet to protect the head and a suit to protect the bone marrow-producing portions of the body. The team will submit a video proposal about their design to NASA. By July 1, the space agency will select five junior high and five high school teams for an all expenses-paid trip to the Langley Research Center. NASA will purchase the materials and build actual models for the winning teams, so the students had to provide exact measurements and specific details in their design. As another part of the challenge, the students have to get the word out. To help them, share a link to this story on social media with the hashtags #NASA_WEAR and #NASARadworks.
A toast to the students in Denise Davis’ advanced art class at Lufkin High School, who donated original art pieces to hang on the walls of the Salvation Army’s soup kitchen. The soup kitchen serves a free lunch and dinner five days a week. Volunteer Bob Adams contacted Davis to talk about how to make the soup kitchen more lively and comfortable. Davis said she thought this would be a great project for her advanced art class. “Giving back to the community has always been an important thing to me,” she said. “I like to show my students the importance of that and how easy it is and also how good it feels to do that.” Employees and volunteers were thrilled with the response. Adams said the artwork was wonderful, and it was evident the students put a lot of effort into it. “This isn’t just a place to eat,” Salvation Army employee Emily Loving said. “It’s almost like another person’s home because it gives color now that it’s repainted with pictures. It feels more homey rather than just another place.” Davis said this project completes the circle of art from creation to being seen, and she hopes it teaches people that art is not merely entertainment but something that can move people. Rosa Izquierdo, who has been cooking at the center for almost 13 years, agreed. The artwork looks good and helps the people coming to eat to relax when they realize, ‘‘Somebody made this for us,’’ she said. “Thank you so much for this.”
On a related note, a representative with the Salvation Army called to express their appreciation to the 40 volunteers from McAlister’s Deli who visited their soup kitchen before the restaurant had opened to help serve lunch and the evening meal to diners.
A toast to two organizations for kicking off a couple of important projects. The Summer Reading Program at Kurth Memorial Library recently got underway. Participants sign up with the library and begin to log their reading time in 15-minute increments, periodically updating the library with their hours. Kids get prizes for every 10, 20 and 40 hours they read. Adults get prizes after reading 100 hours. For more information about the Summer Reading Program and its events, visit the library at 706 S. Raguet St., visit the library’s Facebook page or call the library at 630-0560. The annual Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls program began earlier this week. Through July 12, community members can donate new shoes and socks for vulnerable children in bins located around Lufkin and Angelina County. To register as a shoe collection site, visit Buckner.org/AngelinaCountyShoeDrive. The drive is sponsored by KSWP 90.9-FM and KAVX 91.9-FM. The donated shoes will be given to children through the Junior League of Lufkin’s Back to School Bonanza.
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