Caledonia student reaches for the stars

Austin Schellsmidt with friends made during Space Camp. ~ Submitted

Austin Schellsmidt with friends made during Space Camp.
~ Submitted

By Emily Bialkowski
Caledonia Argus

Austin Schellsmidt, 10 of Caledonia, was one of 159 students from across the world to attend Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students (SCIVIS) from Sept. 22 through 27 at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Helping Schellsmidt navigate the exciting week of education was former Caledonia vision specialist Amy Collazi, who has since moved to Virginia, along with employees of the US Space and Rocket Center.

“I am very  proud of Austin. He learned a lot about space and how to help others with less vision,” Steffanie Schellsmidt, Austin’s mom, said.

Several area charities donated funds so that Austin could attend, including the Caledonia Rotary, Eitzen Lions, Brownsville Lions, Caledonia Lions and Catholic Daughters as well as Schellsmidt’s grandfather.

Schellsmidt’s momentous journey began with a bit of turbulence that in the end offered an unexpected treat. During the flight from Texas to Alabama an engine generator went out on the plane. Passengers had to fly back to Texas to get a different flight. An impromptu train ride had to be incorporated into the transfer, which Schellsmidt really enjoyed, his mom said.

The once-in-a-lifetime experience inspired the young man, his mom said, adding that her favorite quote sums up the experience:

“Just because I can’t see the stars, doesn’t mean I can’t reach for them.”

Austin attends St. Mary’s Grade School and is the son of Jim and Steffanie Schellsmidt of Caledonia.

“Just because I can’t see the stars, doesn’t mean I can’t reach for them.”

Steffanie Schellsmidt and son Austin, 10 of Caledonia, at Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students (SCIVIS). The September event was held at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. ~ Submitted

Steffanie Schellsmidt and son Austin, 10 of Caledonia, at Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students (SCIVIS). The September event was held at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.
~ Submitted

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