SYRACUSE, New York – On June 16, 2018, WonderWorks Syracuse held an out-of-this-world WonderKids event, featuring a special guest and awarding students who had been nominated from area schools for their achievements. The event gave nominees who were picked for the WonderKids award and the public the chance to meet and greet with Dr. Donald Thomas, an astronaut who shared his experiences with the group of having completed four missions to space.
“This was a great event. Everyone who attended had a wonderful time, it was very exciting to meet Dr. Thomas and learn about his missions to space,” says Nicole Montgomery, director of operations at WonderWorks Destiny. “We also get to recognize students in our area. We are very proud of their accomplishments and happy to honor them.”
Wonder Kids is an event that allows educators to recognize their students’ achievements throughout the year. Teachers were asked to nominate students who show extraordinary characteristics in and outside of the classroom. All attendees receive prizes and free admissions to WonderWorks the day of the event, and are two grand prize winners selected for each category; the following were the winners of each category:
Grade range 1st – 5th grades – Grace Mclean
Grade range 6th – 12th – grades – Grace O’Neil
Service to Community:
Grade range 1st – 5th grades – Caitlyn Cook
Grade range 6th – 12th grades – Jose Mateo
Grade range 1st – 5th grades – Jacquelyn Gangemi
Grade range 6th – 12th grades – Tristan Ellerbruch
The WonderKids Program is held each year, honoring kids from the community who have been nominated by their teacher for various areas of student achievement. There are three areas where kids will be honored, including academic excellence, service to community, and future scientist. All students receive a certificate for their achievements and bags of goodies from businesses that partner with WonderWorks. All nominees alsoget free entrance into the WonderWorks the day of the event. Grand prize winners received large prize packages including items such WonderWorks annual passes, Destiny Day Passes, Comic-Con passes, Bears from Build-a-Bear, Dave & Busters prize packs, and more.
Dr. Thomas, who was the guest speaker at the event, also spent time visiting local schools on Thursday and Friday, June 14-15, 2018. He visited Huntington, Syracuse Academy of Sciences, Bellevue Elementary, Roberts, Delaware, and Syracuse Latin. His mission is to share his out-of-this-world experiences and inspire kids to learn more about STEM-related topics (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Selected by NASA in January 1990, he became an astronaut in July 1991. During his career there he spent time in the Safety, Operations, and Payloads Branches of the Astronaut Offices. He was also a spacecraft communicator for several shuttle missions, spent time in various other key roles, and went on four space flights.
“Lots of people got to meet Dr. Thomas and get their picture taken with him,” added Montgomery. “We are already looking forward to our next WonderKids event.”
WonderWorks offers a variety of fun family friendly interactive activities to engage in, including a laser tag arena, 4D XD Motion Theater, Canyon Climb Adventure, and WonderZones – offering a variety of areas to explore, such as natural disasters, physical challenges, light and sound zones, imagination lab, and space discovery. They also offer a Sky Tykes ropes course. WonderWorks’ trademark is “I think, therefore I STEM.” They are focused on providing visitors with a variety of hands-on STEM-related activities.
About WonderWorks WonderWorks, a science-focused indoor amusement park located in Destiny USA, combines education and entertainment with over 100 hands-on exhibits. There is something unique and challenging for all ages. Adventures include: The Hurricane Shack, feel the power of 71 mph hurricane–force winds, The Bubble Lab, make huge, life–sized bubbles, The Astronaut Training Gyro, get the NASA treatment and experience zero gravity, Nail it by lying on the death–defying Bed of Nails. WonderWorks is also home to two indoor ropes courses, Canyon Climb, which is the world’s largest suspended indoor ropes course, and Sky Tykes, which is a confidence booster climb for small children. WonderWorks also hosts birthday parties and special events seasonally. Opens daily at 10 a.m. wonderworksdestiny.com.
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