Lodi First UMC & World of Wonders Museum Help Students “Reach for the Stars”

February 28, 2020

Astronaut Jose Hernandez grew up in Stockton, CA, the son of migrant farm workers. Like many children growing up today, Jose loved science and dreamed of one day being an astronaut. He pursued his dream with rigor. After earning the necessary collegiate degrees he applied to the NASA aeronautics program.

NASA turned Jose down 10 times. Jose applied 11 times.

On Sunday March 8 World of Wonders (WOW) Science Museum is bring Jose Hernandez back to Lodi for a program entitled “Reaching for the Stars”, designed to inspire young people to pursue their dreams and reach their own stars.  

Jose waived his normal engagement fee of $25,000 to help support the museum. Museum staff began working with local schools to access ways to find ways to make it possible for more young people to attend, regardless of ability to pay.

Lodi First United Methodist Church’s Rev. George Edd-Bennett led the way, donating funds to support 100 ticket sales and challenging his Rotary Club partners to step up and support the WOW event.

Rev. George said, “We all have kids thousands of kids, they are filling our schools. I believe that there are kids that look just like Jose Hernandez, or live with the same access to resources that he did all over Lodi. The schools in the “heritage district” may have many students that ought to be at this event but can’t afford the price of admission.”

Many members of Lodi First UMC are educators – both active and retired. As Rev. George shared the Jose Hernandez story and the upcoming WOW event folks remembered “The Star Students” they had taught who lived below the poverty line or had significant obstacles to success. They reflected, “Mine got a full ride scholarship to Harvey Mudd,” and, “Mine went to Stanford and now works in New York City”.

After 24 more hours, funds donated sponsored 112 more tickets.

After 48 hours WOW reported 282 tickets sold for Jose Hernandez ‘Reaching for the Stars’ event. At the time of reporting there are 168 tickets left.

Rev. George stated that “To us “the stars” are elementary school students in the community that love science and could shape the scientific world in the years to come. The love of God is not done yet. Let’s keep “reaching for the Stars!”

Click here to learn more and support “Reaching for the Stars”.