TITUSVILLE, FL – Dr. Desmond K. Blackburn, PhD,  Superintendent for Brevard School Board, will give the keynote address at the April 20 “Reach for the Stars Reception,” co-hosted by the American Space Museum and the Planetarium at Eastern Florida State College. The event will be held at the planetarium in Cocoa, beginning at 6:30 p.m., and will serve as the annual Astronaut fundraiser for the American Space Museum (formerly the U.S. Space Walk of Fame Museum). Tickets are $125 per person.

“Having Dr. Blackburn speak is just perfect for the educational theme of the evening,” said museum Board Chairman Richard Beagley. “There is a real synergy in what the schools are trying to achieve and what we are forging with our new STEAM Space program and makerspace.”  

These etched crystal “Reach for the Stars” awards will honor screenwriter Allison Schroeder and former NASA Manager and museum leader Charles Mars on April 20. Tara Dixon Engel Photo

The evening will feature heavy appetizers courtesy of Green Turtle catering, complimentary wine and beer, about a dozen astronauts from the Apollo and Shuttle eras, a live auction (overseen by the irrepressible Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey), a silent auction, and the first-ever “Reach for the Stars” Award ceremony, honoring Allison Schroeder, Melbourne High School grad and screenwriter for the hit film “Hidden Figures,” and Charles Mars, former NASA manager and long-time President of the American Space Museum.

The Titusville museum (formerly known as the U.S. Walk of Fame Museum) initiated the award as an effort to annually recognize up to two current or former Space Coast residents who have promoted and supported the space program and/or STEM/STEAM education. 

The reception committee includes such well-known Brevard community leaders as Dani Clevens, Darcia Jones Francey, Rita Moreno, Polly Molnar and Delores Spearman.

“We are just so honored to have these folks supporting our efforts and guiding this important event,” said Museum Executive Director Tara Dixon Engel. “2017 will be a huge year for us, as we ramp up our educational offerings and begin active partnerships with Computers Advancing Education, Inc. and the Space Coast Fab Lab. We are excited about the potential for inspiring and motivating a new generation of dreamers and doers, even as we continue to develop new ways to celebrate and preserve the past.”  

Corporate sponsors for the event include Jacobs Engineering, Orbital ATK, Delaware North, Fairfield Inn & Suites, and Eastern Florida State College, as well as Space Coast Fab Lab and Computers Advancing Education. Attendance is limited to 200 and new reservations are pouring in daily, said the Executive Director. To secure your reservation, call 321-264-0434 or go to