We often tell our children to “reach for the stars,” and at the Wagner College Planetarium we offer a way to do just that. I am lucky enough to have the job of arranging the hundreds of school trips to the Wagner Planetarium. It starts with a simple blank spreadsheet with dates and times from the beginning of September to the end of June. Then the phone rings, the email pings or the doorbell tings as schools book trips to visit the Wagner College Planetarium.
The day of the trip, the school buses roll up on Howard Avenue and I often see that the teachers have a bit of trouble trying to calm the excitement of the children. They practically fly down the steps of the bus as they are asked to line up in preparation of taking the short walk to the Planetarium. This is where I meet the groups. “Welcome to Wagner College, in a moment I will be walking with you to the Wagner College Planetarium,” is barely out of my mouth before one of the children is asking me a question about the planetarium or telling me that they have been on campus before either for summer camp or one of our many children’s classes held throughout the year. The walk is filled with these questions and statements as the children’s enthusiasm spills from their mouths. Walking slowly is almost always an impossible task. They jump, bounce, skip, and hop all the way to Spiro Hall, home of the planetarium.
Planetarium Director Mr. Dennis is ready at the controls as the children are ushered to high back seats in a room with a concave ceiling. They are looking for a screen and when I tell them that it is on the ceiling, they suck in their breath – “ooh”.
I always wait until the lights go off and the show begins so that I can hear their first reaction - “Wow” “Look at that” “I think I can touch that star." And as I slowly walk away, I think that this is a great way to start the day. Wagner College is helping children to “reach for the stars.”
Written by Kyra Dashe, Assistant Director of Conferences for The Department for Lifelong Learning
Wagner College Planetarium will be open to public groups on Wednesday, February 21 and April 4 at 10 a.m. For all bookings and inquiries please contact Kyra Dashe at 718-390-3221.