Messages of hope from students in 30 countries launch the Hope Moonshot

Elementary students holding signs with messages of hope
More than 1,000 students from Indiana Area School District participated in its Hope Moonshot Day. IMAGE: IASD

PITTSBURGH — The Readiness Institute (RI) at Penn State, a Penn State Outreach service, is embarking on a mission to foster hope among people around the world with its launch of the Hope Moonshot program. More than 30 countries have submitted hopes so far and for one area school district, it means all students on board.

More than 1,000 students from Indiana Area School District (IASD) participated in its Hope Moonshot Day, a district-wide effort to give all students a chance to share their hopes and dreams for the future. Elizabeth Woods, elementary gifted support teacher for IASD and member of the PA STEM Coalition, said she learned about the Hope Moonshot project through a statewide STEM Ecosystem and shared the details with her colleagues including David Sheeran, a fourth and fifth grade STEAM teacher for IASD.

“As soon as I read about the project, I knew that this was an educational opportunity of a lifetime that must be shared with as many students as possible!” Woods said. “David and I got the green light to launch #IASDHopeMoonshot. The vision of the project was that every member of IASD would participate in Hope Moonshot and send their hope to the moon.”

Every student, educator and member of the global community is invited to join this inspirational movement by using the online form on the RI at Penn State website to submit messages of hope before March 1. The messages will be saved on an SD card and included aboard a lunar lander sent to the moon’s surface by Astrobotic, a Pittsburgh-based space robotics company.

Zoey Gailey, a second grade teacher for Ben Franklin Elementary School in the IASD, said her students were so excited when they learned about the project, they began to use their recess time to brainstorm ideas.

A message of hope from Ben Franklin Elementary School
Ben Franklin Elementary School classroom 15 submitted this message of hope to go to the moon. The school is part of the Indiana Area School District. IMAGE: IASD

“We had a virtual assembly explaining the Hope Moonshot project and even had a guest speaker from Astrobotic to talk about the Peregrine lunar lander. After the assembly, my students were so excited and immediately started brainstorming their individual hopes for the moon. They could not wait to share their ideas and write our class hope!” Gailey said. “I believe this project has helped to bring hope to our community. During this time of uncertainty, these kids helped us to see that one thing is certain: with the right mindset and outlook for the future, anything is possible. Considering everything these little ones have been through during the pandemic, their positivity, innocence and resilience has given me the strength and hope that I need to push through on some days.”

The Hope Moonshot, presented by the RI at Penn State and Global Moonshots in Education, is scheduled to launch in the second half of 2021.

The Readiness Institute at Penn State and the Penn State Center Pittsburgh are both located in the Energy Innovation Building in Pittsburgh.