A former Columbia County educator wants to take his love for the NASA space program to new heights.
Though NASA’s space shuttle program officially ended in August 2011, Evans resident Henry Quinn wants area residents to remember the importance of space exploration. He will help them do so through the creation of a program he calls Space Experience Presentations.
“I would like to inspire,” Quinn said. “I would like to educate and I’d like to inform people about the past, present and future of the space program.”
In addition, Quinn is working on five other programs, with topics that include how space technology is used in everyday life, the history of the space shuttle and religious ties to the program.
Quinn formerly served as a teacher and assistant principal at Evans and Greenbrier high schools. After 31 years as an educator, he retired from the Warren County school system in 2009.
As a teacher, Quinn said he would incorporate aspects of the space program into his social science lesson plans at every opportunity. With the help of NASA, he even was able to organize “space week” at Warren County schools.
“Lecturing is good for awhile, but I found it much more effective to be more of a storyteller,” he said. “That’s an emphasis I want to use with this program.”
Quinn expects to tailor his interactive presentations to each group with whom he speaks. He said he’ll reach out to any organization, including businesses, schools and colleges, planetariums and churches.
Quinn is offering the presentations at no cost but said donations would be accepted.
Space memorabilia such as shuttle models, pictures autographed by astronauts and photos of shuttle launches fill Quinn’s study – a motif his wife, Joy, also a retired educator, agreed to.
Married for 34 years, the two seem to be a match made in the stars.
Five years before the couple met, Joy Quinn did a ninth-grade school project on Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.
A childhood friend of hers also ended up marrying the associate director of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, allowing them the chance to watch a couple of shuttle launches.
“I would make the comment with him that he married me because of who my friend was,” she joked.
Through his new program, which will be ready for group presentations in August, Quinn also wants to stress what the future holds for the space program.
“We need to be proud of what we’ve done because there’s competition coming,” he said.