Heroes & Legends featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (November 11, 2016) – KENNEDY SPACE CENTER
A blast of colors lit up the sky today at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida above the new Heroes & Legends featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame presented by Boeing. But not because of a rocket launch!
A spirited pyrotechnics display marked the opening of the new attraction, which was attended by more than 25 veteran and current NASA astronauts, including revered Gemini and Apollo space program astronauts Buzz Aldrin, James Lovell and Thomas Stafford. They were joined by the adult children of the late-astronauts Alan Shepard and Neil Armstrong, as well as representatives from NASA, The Boeing Company and Delaware North.
Hundreds of park guests also attended the ceremony, which was held on Veterans Day to honor all military heroes, including the many astronauts who are also military veterans.
Designed to be the first stop upon entering Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Heroes & Legends uses the early years of the space program to explore the concept of heroism, and the qualities that define the individuals who inspired their generation. The 37,000-square-foot, retro-fitted building marries cutting-edge technology with mesmerizing special effects, priceless artifacts and thought-provoking exhibits.
“The opening of Heroes & Legends today marks a true milestone for Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex,” said Therrin Protze, chief operating officer. “And it is such an honor to have so many astronaut heroes here with us to share in the celebration. We are so grateful that they can personally experience this living tribute to their sacrifices, determination and achievements.”
“Heroes & Legends offers the opportunity to learn about the amazing attributes of our heroes behind the transformative and historical events that have shaped the way we look at space, the world and the future. It will not only entertain and inspire guests, but lay the groundwork for their interactions throughout the other amazing attractions to create memorable space experiences,” Protze said.
Through engaging storytelling, guests embark on an awe-inspiring journey through Heroes & Legends that begins with an immersive exhibit designed to spark thought and discussion about how society defines a hero. Cutting-edge technology, interactive elements and engaging exhibits work together to introduce visitors to the heroes of the NASA space program: the pioneers who made space exploration possible.
The deliberate architectural design for the new building is meant to celebrate spacecraft throughout history and into the future, and features a 30-by-40-foot bas-relief sculpture of the seven Mercury astronauts on its facade. A dramatic, sweeping ramp entrance simulates the journey to the stars, and features an elevated slingshot path through the Rocket Garden.
Heroes & Legends is separated into three distinct experiences, plus the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame:
- In the stunning 360-degree discovery bay, What is a Hero?, guests explore how society defines heroism through diverse perspectives. Each examination of heroism starts with the following questions: What is a hero; Who are the heroes of our time; and What does it take to be a hero? During the seven-minute presentation, the historic beginning of the space race is acknowledged as the impetus for America’s push to the stars in NASA’s early years and the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
- Through the Eyes of a Hero is a custom-built theater featuring a multisensory 4-D experience during which guests vicariously join NASA’s heroes and legends on the most perilous stages of their missions. Artistically choreographed lighting and special effects are enhanced by intense, deeply resonant sound effects and surrounding images to create the sensation of being “in the moment.” The seven-and-a-half-minute show takes guests on an intimate journey with four space-age heroes – Alan Shepard, Neil Armstrong, John Glenn and James Lovell – to fully immerse them in the awe, excitement and dangers of the first crewed space program missions.
- The third experience, A Hero Is…, offers interactive exhibits that highlight the nine different attributes of our history-making astronauts: inspired, curious, passionate, tenacious, disciplined, confident, courageous, principled and selfless. Through the use of holograms and augmented reality, visitors will be able to interact with space program artifacts in a way never before possible.
A collection of nine exhibit modules explores each aforementioned attribute through the actual experiences of NASA’s astronauts and memorabilia. Their stories are enhanced with real artifacts from the astronaut and the space program, including a Gemini IX capsule featuring a realistic projection of astronaut Gene Cernan climbing out of the tiny spacecraft. Other interactive features inspire further exploration of the original Mercury Mission Control room consoles, with a periodic flashback to the tense moments preceding the landing of Freedom 7 by astronaut John Glenn. Rounding out the collection of authentic artifacts is a Sigma 7 Mercury spacecraft, which is paired with a Mercury-Redstone rocket, and Gus Grissom’s Mercury spaceflight suit.
- The culminating exhibit of Heroes & Legends is the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. Housed in a majestic rotunda, the exhibit intimately connects the visitor to each of the nearly 100 astronaut inductees through the use of state-of-the-art interactive technology. A signature element of the experience is the ability to capture a memento: a special photo opportunity that allows guests to pose with one of the Mercury astronaut heroes and legends.
“The goal is for visitors to leave both attractions with a renewed sense of pride and a more in-depth understanding and appreciation of the qualities of heroism represented by NASA’s pioneering astronauts, and why they deserve admiration and respect,” Protze said.
Heroes & Legends featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame® presented Boeing was developed in collaboration with NASA by Delaware North, one of the largest privately-held hospitality companies in the world. Delaware North has operated Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for NASA since 1995, also developing Space Shuttle Atlantis®, the Apollo/Saturn V Center and other attractions at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The facility is completely funded by ticket sales, with no contributions from taxpayer dollars.
Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness Coming March 2023
WINTER PARK, Fla. (Florida National News) – Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness, inspired by the children’s TV host and icon, comes to Orlando in March 2023. This week-long series of events was announced today at the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation in Winter Park.
“Fred McFeely Rogers devoted his entire life to reminding us of some of the most important ideas of what it means to be human among humans: love, respect and kindness,” explained Buena Vista Events & Management President & CEO Rich Bradley. “Many of us find that nearly 20 years after Fred’s passing, it is important to focus on his teachings once again, perhaps now more than ever. This is a week to re-engage with his massive body of work with some folks, and to introduce his teachings to others.”
Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness begins March 20, 2023, the date which would have been Fred’s 95th birthday, and concludes on Saturday, March 26 with the Red Sweater Soiree, a community dinner to recognize ten ordinary members of the community who inspire and exemplify the affinity that Fred Rogers had for showing kindness to our “Neighbors”.
Activities planned for the week will include early childhood education activities and faculty training, as well as events open to the public.
“The events will be offered free or at low cost,” continued Bradley. “This week-long celebration is not a series of fundraisers, but rather about once again remembering and sharing some of the great work that Fred Rogers created, not only in early childhood education, but in reminding us that we are all part of one big ‘neighborhood’. Fred taught us the importance of accepting our Neighbors just the way they are and engaging in kindness with our interactions. I can’t think of another period in my lifetime where we needed to reflect on those messages again more than today.”
“There are three ways to ultimate success,” Fred Rogers was once quoted as saying. “The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind. Imagine what our neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.”
Many of the activities of Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness will be attended by members of the cast and crew of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 – 1975, and again from 1979 – 2001. David Newell, known as “Mr. McFeely,” the “Speedy Delivery” man, appeared at today’s media conference via video, and looks forward to visiting Central Florida next March.
Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness is supported by the McFeely-Rogers Foundation, the Fred Rogers Institute, and Fred Rogers Productions. Details regarding the specific activities and venues will be released over the next few weeks.
For more information on the events, visit https://www.BuenaVistaEvents.com or https://www.MisterRogersWeekofKindness.com.
Orange County Government, Rollins College Announce 3-Year, $4M Partnership to Provide Nonprofit Training Support
ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Orange County Government and the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College today announced a three-year, $4 million partnership to provide nonprofit training support through Crummer’s Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership, the region’s premier source for nonprofit education and management assistance.
Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act in Orange County, the program will equip local nonprofits with the tools necessary to succeed in the post-pandemic environment. Specifically targeting small, and diverse Orange County-based nonprofits, Empowering Good: A Nonprofit Capacity Building Project is designed to offer training in five key areas: impact measurement, innovation, financial management, fundraising, and risk management.
“Nonprofits play a central role in the wellbeing of our community here in Orange County. Despite increased demand for their services during the Covid-19 pandemic, many of our community’s nonprofit organizations were being adversely affected by the pandemic in potentially devastating ways, directly impacting essential services in Orange County,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings. “Deploying American Rescue Plan funds in partnership with Crummer’s Edyth Bush Institute will help us provide the resources necessary to ensure the long-term success of our nonprofit community.”
The cohort-style program administered by the Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership, will support up to 36 Central Florida nonprofit organizations every six months over the next three years as well as offer organizational assessments and coaching for up to another 15 organizations for a total of 261 nonprofits, starting in September 2022. Training provided by the Edyth Bush Institute throughout each year-long program will include workshops, assessments, coaching/consulting services, and custom programming to address organization-specific challenges.
In assessing how to deploy its American Rescue Plan funding, Orange County Government sought to address needs in six key areas, with one of those areas being small business assistance. Alignment with the Crummer School’s mission to produce global, innovative, and responsible leaders who impact their organizations and communities, as well as the Edyth Bush Institute’s wide-reaching nonprofit network, provided an ideal partnership that would enable the County to bolster small businesses within the regional nonprofit community.
“This exciting partnership with the Orange County Government will reach beyond nonprofits to the many organizations and individuals who benefit from their programs and services,” said Dr. Deborah Crown, dean of the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College. “Our incredible staff at the Edyth Bush Institute embrace this opportunity to further guide our local nonprofit leaders to continue to spark innovation and create jobs for our economy.”
Demand for goods and services from nonprofit organizations soared during the pandemic. In April 2020, the Edyth Bush Institute conducted a survey to assess the state of the nonprofit community. The survey found 93.73% of the 287 participating nonprofits reported moderate to significant impact on programs, services or general operations. In addition, 194 nonprofit organizations reported an anticipated revenue decrease of $48 million to $54 million between February 2020 and June 2020.
“Nonprofits play a vital role in directly improving the lives of individuals. Their contributions to this community and our economy cannot be overlooked. Yet, the struggles with increasing demand for services and maintaining a robust workforce were real,” said Min Sun Kim, executive director of Crummer’s Edyth Bush Institute of Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership. “This program will allow us to address pandemic and post-pandemic challenges as well as to help leaders position their organizations for long-term success.”
For more information and to access the program application, visit empowering-good.org
Florida County Hurt by Pandemic Offers Tuition to Graduates
OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. (AP) — After two years of a pandemic that battered the workforce of this tourism-dependent county in central Florida, leaders had a gift for departing high school graduates this month: free tuition at either the local community college or the county technical school.
Osceola County commissioners announced earlier this year that they would set aside $12 million in federal COVID-19 funding to pay the tuition of any 2022 high school graduate who wanted to go to Valencia College or the county technical school.
“I didn’t have anybody to pay for my college,” Madilyn Hilder, an Osceola High senior who lives with her grandmother, told the Orlando Sentinel. “Money was always the thing that was going to keep me from going to college.”
Because of the program, Osceola Prosper, Hilder said she will now start her studies in elementary education at Valencia College in August, with plans to later transfer to the University of Central Florida.
The goal of Osceola Prosper is to boost education levels past high school and raise the prospects for better-paying jobs for Osceola residents, said Brandon Arrington, chairman of the county commission.
“I think a lot of people think, ‘If I go to college, I’m going to have $100,000 worth of debt,’” Arrington said.
Osceola County is home to large numbers of tourism workers for Orlando area hotels, restaurants and theme parks. During the early months of pandemic-related business closures, the county had the highest unemployment rate in Florida, reaching 14.4% in 2020.
The county previously had offered $500 scholarships to encourage students to study at Valencia College. The new program will cover the $3,000 a year costs of studying full time at the community college.
Because the available funds are limited, the program is only for 2022 graduates.
Guidance counselors at Osceola County’s high schools said they have been having more conversations with students about continuing their education.
Those conversations usually start with, “Now you have this option, what are your thoughts?” said Kendyl Bass, the college and career specialist at Osceola High. “It has changed a lot of people’s minds.”
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