Graf Congratulates St. Joseph School’s Contact with Astronaut aboard I.S.S.

June 6, 2017

St. Joseph teachers and students pose on Space Day, Monday, May 22.

Assemblyman Al Graf (R,C,I,Ref-Holbrook) Congratulated St. Joseph School in Ronkonkoma on its recent celebration of “Space Day”, where students made radio contact with Jack Fisher, an astronaut on the International Space station. Twelve Students from St. Joseph’s 8th grade class were among only 14 schools in the entire country, to have the opportunity to reach out to astronauts at the International Space station, and ask some questions to learn about life in space.

“I am delighted to see students right here in Ronkonkoma have the opportunity to talk with an astronaut in space,” said Graf. “This is a once in a lifetime experience and a huge deal, not only for the school, but also for our entire community. It’s not too often opportunities like this arise. I am so happy to see these children receive this chance to talk to an astronaut in space. They truly deserve it.”

Teachers and students prepared for this event months in advance, working space exploration and radio communication, into their curriculum in a yearlong effort to prepare for contact. Jennifer Medordi, St. Joseph’s technical director and technology teacher, learned of this opportunity and applied through the Amateur Radio International Space Station (ARISS) Contact program, made possible by the Amateur Radio community in cooperation with NASA. She was thrilled to find out her class was selected. The 12 students given the opportunity to ask Astronaut Jack Fischer questions were selected through an essay competition held at the school.

Their names are: Shane Bellino, Dominic Marando, Alicia Soler, Manuel Kittel, Lauren Avilla, Ralph Silvestre, Candence DePersio, Logan Danna, Aaron Tabigue, Rohan Douglas, Joseph Fardella Jr. and Alexandra Buttonow.

“After receiving the exciting news of being selected for this rich opportunity, and following the lead of our technology program, our teachers launched a multi-faceted space curriculum, designed uniquely for each grade level. Students learned about space history, life on the ISS, current events-including Space X and the future Mars Program-and enjoyed multiple Space Days where students gathered together to complete Center-Based Activities. The students now have a new appreciation of space science, and many have expressed a desire to pursue careers in science and technology fields as a result of their studies this year,” said Medordi.