In reaching for the stars, Rachel Guffey might soon meet a select club of adventurers who have been closer to the stars than anyone else on Earth.
Rachel, a sixth-grader at Evans Middle School, recently won the Zathura Sweepstakes sponsored by Scholastic Inc., a publisher and distributor of education books and materials that will send her to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Students throughout the country were asked to write a question to an astronaut as part of the contest.
Rachel hopes to ask her question -"What is outer space like?" - to an actual astronaut.
"I don't know if I'm going to get to meet one or not, but I hope so," the 11-year-old said.
But finding out about space isn't the only question on Rachel's mind.
A straight-A pupil, Rachel said she developed an interest in space when her brother, Isaac, attended space camp in Alabama. She said she dreams of one day working for NASA or becoming an astronaut herself.
"I want to know what it would take to get there," she said. "I want to know what I need to do to get so good."
Rachel's mother, Laurie, said her daughter has always excelled in science, but says Rachel's astral wanderlust developed more recently.
"I don't know that she's always been interested in space," Guffey said. "I know she is now."
Along with the five-day, four-night trip to Cape Canaveral, Rachel also will get $1,000 spending money.
Rachel's science teacher, Juliana Hall, received a windfall by proxy through Rachel's sweepstakes win.
Hall's class will receive a plasma-screen television, 30 Kennedy Space Center T-shirts and space science books for her classroom.
"The textbooks we have mostly deal in generalities," Hall said. "To have something that has more of a focus on a particular area of science is going to be a great educational tool for me."
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