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Student First: Azevada Students’ Essays will Circle the Moon with Artemis I Mission
Posted 9/2/22
students with teacher in classroom
Some of the Azevada Elementary School students whose essays are on the Artemis I mission, with Mira Gillet, their 3rd grade teacher in the 2020-21 school year.

Click here to view press release.

When Mira Gillet’s 3rd grade students at Fremont Unified School District’s Azevada Elementary School wrote essays about traveling to the moon in 2020, they had to imagine the journey. Soon, those students’ words will actually blast into space as part of the Artemis I mission, which is preparing for its next launch window on September 3. 

student and teacher on playground
Azevada teacher Mira Gillet with a former 3rd grade student whose essay will orbit the moon on the Artemis I mission.

“Personally I’m kind of really excited,” said Judah P., who was in Gillet’s class in 2020, about knowing her words are on the Artemis I mission. “At least I’ll know that I had that little part of myself in space.”

“The whole point was to get this generation excited about science,” said Gillet, who thanked fellow teacher Yi Wang, now at Bringhurst Elementary, for sharing information about the Artemis Moon Pod Essay Contest so she could bring this opportunity to her students. 

A video NASA posted to open the contest begins with: “Just imagine that you were leading an expedition to explore the moon….” The contest challenged K-12 students to imagine leading a one-week expedition to the moon’s south pole, then write an essay describing the mission, including the crewmates they would need – number, skills and personalities, and the technology they might leave behind for future expeditions.

a poster hanging in mira gillet's classroom with text: think big
A sign hanging in Azevada teacher Mira Gillet's classroom.

The contest was a great fit for Gillet, who teaches and encourages students to use design thinking to think big to solve big problems, while focusing on learning and creativity.

“It was really great so we could, on Zoom, put up the kids’ writing - revise, edit, improve,” said Gillet, who submitted the essays not knowing exactly when the Artemis missions would be ready for launch, or which mission the winning essays might be on. 

“I told the kids, ‘We’re not doing this to win, we’re doing this to learn,’” said Gillet, whose students’ essays were among the over 14,000 entries NASA received. “When they announced the winners, we weren't chosen, and we were disappointed, but that’s ok.” 

However, NASA announced that it would honor the “Artemis Generation” and their innovative and creative thinking by sending all entries on an Artemis mission to orbit the moon.

“I was delighted when we were told all the essays would be launched,” said Gillet.

The Artemis I Official Flight Kit lists a USB drive with these essays as heading to space. Click here to learn more about the educational and cultural items Artemis I will carry. 

two adults on playground
Azevada teacher Mira Gillet and Principal Carole Diamond.

Students from Gillet’s class are now in 5th grade, and Gillet is working with Azevada Principal Carole Diamond and 5th grade teachers George Reyna and David Schormann to make sure all the students from her 2020-21 class know where their imagination is taking them: all the way to the moon!

Find information about the Artemis I mission launch and much more on NASA's launch blog.




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