Several Victorian students who survived a horror bus crash late last year, have fulfilled their dreams of becoming astronauts with humble photos capturing the long-awaited moment.
High school students from Loreto College in the regional suburb of Ballarat finally made it to the United States to participate in NASA’s space camp, ten months after they were initially scheduled to go.
The school was forced to postpone the trip after several students and adults from the school were caught up in a bus crash in September last year.
The school bus rolled onto its side after it allegedly collided with a B-double truck on September 22.
The incident occurred at about 3.20am on the Western Hwy near Bacchus Marsh, while the bus was transporting students from the school to Tullamarine airport for their initial flight to the US for the camp.
The students, who were mostly from years 9 to 12, were lucky to survive despite 27 of them being injured, with one teenage girl flown to hospital with serious injuries.
Five of the students had to be cut free from the bus, while those who were less injured gave direct assistance to those who needed it.
The 69-year-old male truck driver was also rushed to hospital with serious injuries. He was later charged with 46 offences, including reckless conduct causing serious injury, dangerous driving causing serious injury and reckless conduct endangering life.
Almost a year on, 21 students – including 11 who were supposed to be on the previous trip – finally made it to Huntsville, Alabama to participate in the space camp.
Loreto principal Michell Brodrick also attended the overseas excursion along with three other staff, according to the Herald Sun.
Photos taken while at the camp show students from the all-girl school beaming from ear-to-ear as they engage in space simulations, rocket launching activities, rock climbing and diving.
A caption posted alongside the pictures on the school’s Facebook page revealed how excited the school was to finally have some of their students experience the camp.
“After four years of planning and a few false starts, the Loreto College NASA Space Camp finally launched last week,” it read.
“(Students and staff) made the journey to Huntsville, Alabama to attend the world class US Space & Rocket Centre – Space Camp which focuses on astronaut training, teamwork and leadership skills.
“The students participated in Simulated Space Missions, Scuba Training, Multi Axis Training, Wall Climbing and Rocket Launching, just to name a few.”
Several parents commented on the post, applauding the school for their efforts in helping the students attend the camp after years of setbacks thanks to both the pandemic and the crash.
“Looks awesome – so terrific that the girls and staff finally made it after a couple of years hit with Covid and a few other hiccups!!” one parent at the school said.
“The determination from the school and the girls for this trip to go ahead was amazing and truly worth every ounce of effort to launch this year.
“Thank you to everyone involved in making this trip happen and thank you to the wonderful staff who accompanied our girls on this trip of a lifetime.”
Another person added: “To all the people behind the scenes, and in the forefront, who worked so tirelessly to make dreams come true, thank you so much.”