By Melissa Wharton
Students at Northeast High School will soon be seeing stars thanks to a recent donation of nearly 100 telescopes from NHS alumni and Northeast community members.
Sam Dawson grew up in the Northeast in the 1960s and 70s. He does business by buying equipment from military surplus stores and reselling them, and earlier this month he came upon a large batch of telescopes.
“I talked to my friend Dean Hughson who’s an alumni here, and he lives in Phoenix. So I had a lot of these telescopes come through and was talking to Dean about it,” Dawson said. “And Dean said, ‘Why not give some of these to the Northeast High School science department?’”
Hughson was able to buy and donate 31, and after some word of mouth, Facebook posts and getting in touch with the NHS Alumni Association, Dawson was able to secure enough telescopes for every student across three science classes to have access to their own telescope.
“This is going to give them an opportunity they didn’t have before, where they will be able to use the telescopes instead of just seeing things on their computer or in the book,” said Gayle Richberg, science department chairperson at NHS. “They will be able to actually see the stars and produce calculations that are really relevant to understanding the dimensions of our universe. So it’s really going to be exciting.”
The students themselves were also excited about the telescopes.
“I like it because now we can experiment with a lot of things,” said student Skila Hooker. “At my other schools they didn’t really have them, so this will be my first time using one. We can create a lot of big projects.”
“It’s going to be fun using them,” added student Thomas Pacheco. “It’ll be fun to use them in my experiments.”