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James McDivitt Elementary School Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Astronaut Visit

The James McDivitt Elementary School in Old Bridge will celebrate its 50th anniversary on March 23, with a series of activities including the uncovering of a cornerstone holding a time capsule, which will be opened at a ceremony set for 9:30 a.m. In addition, students at the K-5 school will be refilling the capsule for future McDivitt students to uncover in 50 more years. 

A few surprises also are in store, including a congratulatory video message from astronaut Scott Tingle, directly from the International Space Station. 

 

In the afternoon, the elementary school, which is named after the NASA astronaut who flew in the Gemini and Apollo programs, will welcome Captain Jon McBride, a retired NASA astronaut who will be part of the ceremony and conduct an assembly for the students. McBride will proudly represent NASA and James McDivitt, who is unable to attend. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and the McDivitt Elementary School PTA made it possible for McBride to be part of the 1:30 p.m. event. 

 

McDivitt students will have an opportunity to fully engage in the history and future of space exploration through the presentation and several hands-on activities.  The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will provide astronaut ice cream, stickers, and posters for the McDivitt students, who also will receive activity books from NASA. 

 

McBride, a retired United States Navy Captain and retired NASA astronaut, also is a member of the Kennedy Space Center Astronaut Encounter team and does lecturing and corporate motivational presentations around the world. 
 
He attended West Virginia University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. He completed his graduate work in Human Resources Management at Pepperdine University in California. 
 
McBride began his naval service in 1965 with flight training in Pensacola, Fla.  While deployed to Southeast Asia, McBride flew 64 combat missions. He logged more than 8,800 hours flying time, which included about 4,700 hours in jet aircraft. 
 
McBride was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in 1978, and he served as the pilot of space shuttle mission STS 41-G aboard the space shuttle Challenger in October 1984, which was the first mission to have a crew of seven. 

 

He was scheduled to fly in March 1986 as commander of the STS 61-E crew but NASA cancelled the flight following the Challenger accident in January 1986. 

 
In May 1989, he retired from NASA and the Navy, in order to pursue a business career.  

 

James McDivitt Elementary School is located at 1 Manny Martin Way.