Retired astronaut to wrap up CIS end-of-year program

CIS hoping to “pack it out” at end-of-year program on June 10

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

When politicians of a certain level need help, they can call in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines. Fallon Brewington called in Dobbins Heights Mayor Antonio Blue, who in turn called an astronaut.

Submitted photo Joan E. Higginbotham, NASA astronaut (retired)

Submitted photo
Joan E. Higginbotham, NASA astronaut (retired)

Brewington is of Communities in Schools in Richmond County. CIS is a nonprofit dedicated to helping steam the tide of students who drop out of school. Instead, CIS staff and volunteers work with at-risk students to ensure they stay in school and graduate.

Brewington said that retired NASA astronaut Joan E. Higginbotham can tell a story that should relate to youth of almost any age in Richmond County. Hers is a story that begins with a dream, includes rejection and, after getting knocked down, the heroine — Higginbotham herself — gets back up again.

When she rises, Higginbotham goes up — way up — culminating with a trip into orbit on Space Shuttle Discovery in 2006.

“She wanted to be an astronaut,” Brewington said, but “the first time she applied, she was told ‘no.'”

Hardly deterred, Higginbotham returned to school to strengthen her resume. In her second attempt, she was accepted into the prestigious space program.

The event, which begins at 6:30 p.m., is free and open to the public at Cole Auditorium on the Hamlet campus of Richmond Community College.

Brewington said Higginbotham’s speech, which should last 35 to 45 minutes, focuses on a message of “don’t give up. Set your dreams on what you want to do.”

Brewington said that after Higginbotham’s speech, there should be time for photo opportunities and autographs. While the entire event is free, donations to CIS are accepted, Brewington said.

Blue is a CIS-Richmond County board member and reached out to Higginbotham, whom Brewington said is a personal friend of Blue’s.

CIS in Richmond County operates with a board of directors and six paid staff. Along with Brewington, executive director, there are four full-time site coordinators — one each at Fairview Heights Elementary School, Monroe Avenue Elementary School, Hamlet Middle School and the Ninth Grade Academy — and one part-time assistant coordinator at Hamlet Middle School. The local CIS group operates on an annual budget of $181,369.

At 5:30 p.m., there is a private social to which the program’s 200 students and their families members are invited. Other invited include local dignitaries such as local elected officials and donors to the program.

 

 

Filed in: Education, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News

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