Video & Photos: Framingham Library Remembers Christa Corrigan McAuliffe

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FRAMINGHAM – Earlier this morning, January 28, a small crowd remembered the late Christa Corrigan McAuliffe at the library named for her on Water Street in the City of Framingham.

Framingham Assistant Library Director Dawn Dellasanta remembered the victims of the NASA U.S. Space Shuttle Challenger this morning by reading their names and asking for those in attendance for a 73 second moment of silence, to mark the 73 seconds the space shuttle was in flight before it exploded on January 28, 1986.

The Space Shuttle Challenger was sent to space with a mission to deploy a communications satellite and study Halley’s Comet. On board as part of the crew was the first teacher in space Christa Corrigan McAuliffe. The shuttle exploded only 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew members aboard.

Christa Corrigan McAuliffe grew up in Framingham, was a Girl Scout, graduated from the former Marian High School ,and graduated from what is now Framingham State University.

She was a high school social studies teacher in Concord, New Hampshire at the time of her death, after she was selected in 1985 by NASA to be the first teacher in space, from more than 11,000 applications. In 2018, NASA released McAuliffe’s lost lessons.

Framingham Library Trustee Nancy Coville Wallace and her husband City Historian Fred Wallace were the only officials at today’s remembrance.

The library branch is not the only building named after McAuliffe in the City of Framingham.

There is the center at Framingham State University and also the Christa McAuliffe Charter School, a regional public charter school for students in grades 6-7-8.

After the 73 second moment of silence, Dr. Irene Porro from the McAuliffe Center at Framingham State University spoke of McAuliffe’s legacy and how we can carry on her mission today.

“She had something to say and she was ready to go all the way to share that with us. So we at the Center truly believe that to fulfill Christa’s legacy, we need to use our centered unique space perspective. That’s what we were created to. But to use this unique space perspective to bring the attention to the urgent needs of planet Earth and involve those earth impacted by environmental injustice,” said Porro.

“In July 1986 Christa’s husband Steven, gave an address to the National Education Association,” said Porro. “That speech cautioned members of the Association, and I quote cautioned that if you sit on the sideline or reflect back on Christa as a hero or as a glorious representative, or a kind nice saint, I like this sequencing. If you think about her as a hero rather than putting your energies in, accomplishing for her what she wanted to do, then I think the efforts will have been in vein.”

“To me, he said that 37 years ago. I hear it today. We’re not here to put Christa on a pedestal. We are here to follow her example in a way that fits 2023,” said Porro, who believes saving our planet and dealing with environmental justice issues is a way to honor Christa’s legacy.

“I think any genuine commitment to Christa’s vision must reflected on actions beginning with ideas and facilities in our case and your beautiful facility,” said Porro talking about the McAuliffe Center on the campus of Framingham State University and the Christa McAuliffe Library branch in Framingham.

“We are not constrained by convention and ready to evolve with the changing needs of our society,” said Porro.

The McAuliffe Center at Framingham State Univeristy is undergoing a renovation and is expected to be completed by the 28th anniversary of the Challenger explosion.

On Monday night, Dr. Porro will will use paintings to introduce topics in astronomy and space science at the McAuliffe Library branch at 7 p.m.. A Q&A will follow.


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