BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) – Belen High School is the only high school in New Mexico selected to be a part of NASA’s Students Spaceflight Experiments Program, but to actually compete in it, the school needs $6,000 by Monday.
“We need a commitment before this weekend, or before Monday at the latest, the actual money doesn’t have to be delivered until the middle of September,” said Belen High School Science Chair, Stephen Boliver.
The money is needed to pay for program fees and professional mentors. SSEP starts as an internal competition at Belen High School, where its 600 students will be split into 120 teams.
Each team will work to create a “micro gravity” experiment. The top experiment will be sent to NASA, who will then launch it up to the International Space Station.
“I actually got pretty excited at first because I’m one that’s pretty interested in space and biology and stuff,” said sophomore Kelsie Finch.
“At first, I didn’t believe it because we’re the only school in New Mexico, and like, students are the future and we’re going to be the ones doing the experiment,” said sophomore Jahemi Olveda.
The winning team will get to watch that rocket launch in person. They’ll also get to travel to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. to present their experiments to scientists, astronauts and other NASA officials.
“I think everyone’s going to have to put in a lot of work and there’s going to be a lot of competition. Who wouldn’t want to be traveling to Washington?” said Olveda.
Teachers have been working on this project since the end of last school year, but just recently told students about it because they were worried they wouldn’t raise the needed total of $24,000.
“One of them got kind of mad at me yesterday and said, ‘Why didn’t you tell us sooner?!’ Well, because we didn’t want to disappoint you,” said science teacher, Chelsey Servantes.
Now that the students know, they’re excited to compete and are hopeful the final $6,000 can be raised.
If you would like to help students reach their goal, click here.