In honor of Memorial Day, students at Pioneer Elementary School listened to stories from Major Eric Boettcher who has served in the U.S. Army Reserves for more than 21 years and completed a mission in Iraq.
As the Civil Affairs Company Commander, Boettcher helped distribute donated supplies to various Iraqi schools and orphanages courtesy of various U.S. donations.
The soldier shared his memories from 2005-06 through a video presentation to the Pioneer student body during two school assemblies last Friday.
For his tour, Boettcher was awarded the Bronze Star Medal due to his unique assignment.
When he and fellow troops visited the Iraqi schools, Boettcher said the students there would sing to them in thanks for the much-needed school supplies.
When asked by Pioneer students about what it is like being a soldier, Boettcher said it is honorable career. He plans to go back to Iraq this summer.
In his last visit to Iraq, he traveled to a unique and diverse province of Iraq. Some of the supplies that Boettcher handed out on his journey there were from a Brentwood church.
After listening to the impact that the supplies had on the Iraqi school children, the Pioneer students wanted to know how their school could help.
It sounds like there are already plans in the works for a donation drive.
Two Deer Valley High School
Alekzandir Morton and Thomas Travagli received top honors in the event's Physics and Astronomy Senior Division on May 20 and between the two of them collected $500 along with certificates and medals. The seniors competed against 17 students who had won first place at local science fairs around the state.
Morton and Travagli entered a project whose title would leave many people scratching their heads: "A Galaxy Ablaze from Afar: Infrared Spectroscopy of S5 0714+716 Using the Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope." Huh?
The teens used the telescope in measuring the increased wavelength of electromagnetic radiation from a particular quasar, the bright center of a galaxy very far from ours. It's something that professional astronomers have been trying to do for years, says their teacher Jeff Adkins.
Located in space, the telescope captures images that scientists can't see from Earth by detecting the heat that objects radiate.
Morton and Travagli also succeeded in determining how fast the quasar was moving and its distance from Earth.
Open house for all
All of the elementary school campuses in the Antioch Unified School District held open houses last Thursday night. The events offered a chance for parents to check out student artwork, projects and classrooms.
It was a good start to the end of the school year.
Reach Paula King at 925-779-7189. Staff writer Rowena Coetsee contributed to this column.