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Astronomy Class Reaches For the Stars

October 9, 2012
By Brian Berry of Yoncalla High School

Astronomy Class Reaches For the Stars

Members of the Yoncalla High School Space Science class spent an evening gazing at the stars.  YHS science teacher Paul Staudhammer took a large portion of his summer creating a curriculum for a Space Science class at Yoncalla.  While doing routine cleaning in his classroom, Mr. Staudhammer noticed two telescopes that were donated a few years ago by a Yoncalla community member.  After testing the telescopes, he decided to offer a class in Space Science to the students of YHS.  “There was no curriculum and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to pull it all together, however, the students seem to enjoy the class and I enjoy the challenge of putting together a class that is challenging and fun for my students,” says Staudhammer.  Students are required to spend time studying celestial objects or other phenomena that occur outside of the Earth’s atmosphere.   For this reason, several nights during the month students spend time at night gazing at the stars.  YHS senior Marlayna Shields states, “It’s an interactive class and I love it!”  Tabitha Shaw says, “Looking at the stars is fun.  We have learned many things already including what Arcturus is.” 

Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences known to man.  With the invention of the telescope, astronomy was able to develop into a modern science.  It is a new class and new experience for most of the students at YHS and the students love the fact that it is the type of class that would be offered at a larger school.  Staudhammer says, “We are just in its infancy, and the things we do in the future will be even more adventurous.”  As world famous astronomer Carl Sagan once said, “Before you can bake an apple pie from scratch, first you must invent the universe.”  In order for the students of YHS to bake an apple pie, we needed the donation of the equipment.  Thank you to the community of Yoncalla for remembering our high school and making this class possible.

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