of the Gemini Observatory.
Gabriela Mistral Medal
The StarTeachers and Gemini Observatory Public Information and Outreach staff visit Mauna Kea on October 13, 2003.
...Is a message that the StarTeachers successfully delivered to thousands of students in Chile and Hawai`i. The second-half of the inspiring StarTeachers program began on Saturday, October 11, in Waikoloa, Hawai`i, with a welcoming gala. During the gala, Gemini was honored to receive the Gabriela Mistral Medal for excellence in education from the Chilean Ministry of Education. The gala event kicked-off two weeks of teaching and cultural exchange.
The StarTeachers have been busy on the Big Island. More images are provided in the StarTeacher's Photo Album. Additional information about the individual teachers and background information on the StarTeachers program is also available at our website.
spent most of their time in schools and classrooms in East Hawaii infusing
students and other educators with their love of science, astronomy and
culture. They visited 9 schools total with focused efforts at the Hawaiian
StarTeachers' home schools - Keaau High School, Waiakea Elementary School
and Haili Christian School. They shared many great new ideas on how
to teach astronomy, which is a subject that many teachers do not feel prepared
to tackle. Through Gemini's Internet2 infrastructure, students in
Hawai`i and Chile were connected via videoconferencing in real time. The
students participated in lessons on astronomy in both Spanish and English,
experienced the wonder of technology, shared culture and participated in
periods of questions and answers. Students ranged in age from kindergarten
to high school.
Going from Mauna
Kea, to Volcano National Park, to historic sites on O`ahu, the StarTeachers
saw Hawai`i in a meaningful physical and cultural context that enhanced
their educational efforts.
and faculty at the Ke Kula o Nawahiokalaniopuu Iki, a Hawaiian immersion
charter school, welcomed the StarTeachers. They participated in a cultural
exchange in three languages - Hawaiian, Spanish and English - while forging
new links for science education in the native Hawaiian community. "The heavens
belong to everyone," said Kauanoe Kamana, Principal of Nawahi, "and the StarTeachers
program parallels our efforts to promote human interaction between different
cultural groups. The stars are an important part of Hawaiian tradition."
Big Island Mayor
Harry Kim and the Hawai`i County Council also met with the StarTeachers.
Mayor Kim honored the StarTeachers with individual recognition awards for
excellence in science education. "It is thrilling to host the Chilean StarTeachers,"
commented Big Island Mayor Harry Kim. "We anticipate an incredible impact
on our local schools through the sharing of cultures, astronomy and technology.
This program enhances the quality of teaching and astronomy education in
The Chilean Ministry
of Education also recognized the impact of the StarTeachers. For the first
time, the Gabriela Mistral Medal for excellence in education has been awarded
outside of Chile. The medal, named for the famous Nobel-Prize winning poet
Gabriela Mistral, was awarded on Saturday evening in Waikoloa to the Gemini
Observatory in celebration of its outstanding efforts in international astronomy
education through the StarTeachers exchange program.
Ministry of Education is honored to award Matt Mountain, on behalf of the
Gemini Observatory, this very prestigious medal as an expression of our
appreciation for the opportunities that Gemini has provided to our teachers
and community through the StarTeachers program," noted Celso López,
Representative of the Chilean Ministry of Education in the Coquimbo region.
"On behalf of
the Gemini Observatory," said Matt Mountain, Director, "I am honored to
receive this medal as a symbol of the successful collaboration between countries
and cultures to improve science education and better our understanding of
the Universe. It is a deep privilege to have the Chilean Ministry of Education
associate the Gemini Observatory's name with such an inspirational figure
as Gabriela Mistral."
said, "His Name is Today. We are guilty of many errors and many faults,
but our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the foundation
of life. Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now
is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being made, and his senses
are being developed. To him we cannot answer 'tomorrow'. His name is 'today'."
The Gemini Observatory is an international collaboration that has built two identical 8-meter telescopes. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope is located on Mauna Kea, Hawai`i (Gemini North) and the Gemini South telescope is located on Cerro Pachón in central Chile (Gemini South), and hence provide full coverage of both hemispheres of the sky. Both telescopes incorporate new technologies that allow large, relatively thin mirrors under active control to collect and focus both optical and infrared radiation from space.
The Gemini Observatory provides the astronomical communities in each partner country with state-of-the-art astronomical facilities that allocate observing time in proportion to each country's contribution. In addition to financial support, each country also contributes significant scientific and technical resources. The national research agencies that form the Gemini partnership include: the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the UK Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC), the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Argentinean Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) and the Brazilian Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq). The Observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. The NSF also serves as the executive agency for the international partnership.