Can you tell the story of how you came to write your first book, Silver Linings?
Several years after the Challenger space shuttle accident, Robert Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral “Hour of Power” program asked me to be a guest at his Sunday morning service. I agreed to share my experience of the accident that resulted in the tragic loss of my husband, Dick Scobee, and our friends on board the Challenger, including the beloved schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe. I accepted the interview because it seemed everyone knew how the Challenger crew died, but I wanted the world to know how they lived and the reason they risked their lives to go into space.
After I told my story, Dr. Schuller paused before his massive audience and said, “June, you should write a book about your story. It could help you and others too.” I accepted the challenge to write the positive story—to tell how we took tragedy and found the inspiration to create “stars from scars.” It was a story about how we found the “silver lining” beyond that dark cloud of sorrow and loss.
Can you tell me a little about the mission and work of the Challenger Centers?
These centers continue the Challenger crew’s mission to engage students of varying ages and backgrounds in science, math, and technology. At each of the Challenger Centers, gifted flight directors serve as crew commanders and guide the students in simulated missions to the moon, Mars, the space station, or out to rendezvous with Halley’s Comet. To have a successful simulation, the flight directors encourage the students to work as a team to solve problems. Those who work in the Challenger Centers—there are more than fifty of them now—share a genuine desire to inspire curiosity about the universe and to help students begin thinking about their own futures. There is a lot more information about the Challenger Centers here.