Education News

Students Crowd Toyota Center in Dream Tour ’09

Earlier this week, thousands of screaming kids were inspired at a concert in downtown Houston. But they weren’t there to hear music. They were there for math and science in the final stop of the “dream tour” presented by a former NASA astronaut. Pat Hernandez has more:


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The 10-thousand middle school students came to Toyota Center from six school districts in and out of Houston. They came to experience the Dream Tour, a high-tech, high-energy performance aimed at encouraging students to pursue careers in math and science. It is the brain child of Dr. Bernard Harris.

He overcame adversity to achieve success as a physician and then an astronaut.  He is the first African-American to walk in space. Before the event began, he talked about the Dream Tour.

dream team middle schoolers

“It is targeted toward middle school, rising sixth, seventh and eighth graders, trying to keep them engaged, keep them turned on about math and science, letting them know that it’s OK to be a geek; it’s OK to be an engineer; its OK to be a doctor; it’s OK to be an astronaut.”

Dr. Harris says education enabled him to travel in space and now he wants students to follow their dreams by pursuing careers in stem subjects: science, technology, engineering and math.
The tour was underwritten by Exxon-Mobil. Gerald McElvy is president of the ExxonMobil Foundation.

“We work with Dr. Harris to develop the Dream Tour, which is a tour to ten cities a year to middle schools and to talk about math and science and talk about stem education, the importance of stem education and also to create some excitement. Because what we’re seeing is that not enough kids are really motivated and excited about pursuing math and science and taking the really rigorous courses in middle school and in high school that are pre-requisites to achieving in math and science high school and on in college.”

Donnie King is a teacher at Alief Middle School. She says she was impressed with the event.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for a lot of kids to see that there are possibilities with science and math and technology, and I think our kids are getting really excited about the possibility to learn something new and dream and believe in themselves.”

Student Devonte Lancaster liked the event because of the message.

“It just inspires me to do better in school and know that it’s not an end. I can do whatever I put my mind into. I can really keep this in mind. I can put it to something positive I try to do in my life.”

The Dream Tour reached almost a million students nationwide in its second year.


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