Volunteers, Families Participate in Onizuka Space Science Day

With the assistance of more than 50 Honda Community Action Team (HCAT) volunteers, more than 2,000 serious-minded science students in grades five through 12, along with their family members, attended this year’s Onizuka Space Science Day.

The Ellison S. Onizuka Memorial Committee, El Camino College in Torrance, Calif., and American Honda partnered on this hands-on learning opportunity, complete with a presentation from a NASA astronaut, to inspire students to study space sciences.

“You guys are already smarter than the average person on the street,” NASA Astronaut Stanley G. Love told attendees in his keynote address on why we have not yet made it to Mars. Before students split off to enjoy science sessions on extracting strawberry DNA and puzzling physics demonstrations, Love challenged those listening to build a better rocket engine and pursue their dreams through education. Love also visited several local schools as part of the program. Left: Students experiment with producing volcanic eruptions.

This year marks the 33rd anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger accident that took the lives of the seven crew members, including Ellison Onizuka. The annual program is dedicated to Onizuka’s memory and dream of inspiring young people to follow their dreams and make the world a better place.

“Honda and Ellison Onizuka share a belief in the power of dreams,” said Steve Morikawa, vice president, Corporate Relations and Social Responsibility, American Honda. “We’re proud to be part of the effort to ensure his dream continues and inspires future generations of students.” Honda has sponsored the event since its inception in 1987.

Honda Community Action Team (HCAT) volunteers assisted with registration and helped students navigate the campus. Victor Wilson, an American Honda associate who has volunteered during Space Science Day for the past six years, says AHM’s support of the program is a natural fit for the company. “Honda is known for innovation, so getting involved in the community shows that we mean what we say.”

For several Honda associates, Space Science day is a family affair. Lori Nakamura has been volunteering for five years, and her two children, who are in 7th and 9th grade, have been attending as students for the past three years. “My kids are at the age where they can participate, it’s a fun experience for them,” she says. “They just love it, on the way here they were discussing how they would construct their parachute for the egg drop competition.”

Zone 1 District Parts and Service Manager Don Prochot says his son was interested in listening to the NASA astronaut speak since he wants to be a pilot in the navy. “This is my first year volunteering, and this event is perfect for kids, including my son in 5th grade.

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