Written by Czarina Duka
Originally published on November 17, 2017
As the Eryanauts (Erya kids) complete their weekly training (tutoring) sessions for this semester at their respective schools the time has arrived for their journey to begin. The kids travelled from their schools to Ateneo last November 11, 2017, to embark on their out-of-this-world mission through the Erya Alternative Classes Program – the annual culminating activity for the Gabay Erya Formation Program.
Early in the morning, the Eryanauts from Industrial Valley Elementary School and Holy Spirit Elementary School were welcomed by the Galactic Alliance of Brilliant Astronautic Youth (G.A.B.A.Y.) with a stellar dance entitled Shooting Star. Before heading out to their respective missions, G.A.B.A.Y. members taught them the moves so they can dance to this beat when they come home to Earth.
Thereafter, the kids were introduced to their fellow Eryanauts, the Captain of their spaceship (TnTs), and the Space Navigators (SecMobs). Each spaceship or group was named after constellations – Orion, Scorpius, Draco, and Lyra. These groups then travelled to the space stations of six planets, where the partner organizations are waiting to show the Eryanauts what they can do in outerspace.
The League of Ateneo Physicists (LeAPs) asked the Eryanauts to make a tower out of noodles and marshmallows, and then try to topple down the tower of the other team by launching paper airplanes at the opposing tower. Ateneo Shell EcoRacing Team taught the kids about climate change and how it can be slowed down through renewable energy. Ateneo Management Information Systems Association (MISA), meanwhile, taught the kids how to use Powerpoint and played a space game afterwards.
Meanwhile, Integrating Science in the Philippines and Ateneo ENTABLADO encouraged the kids to explore their creative thinking on the outerspace through creating a zine on their questions about the outerspace and engaging in an acting workshop, respectively. Finally, Ateneo Chemistry Society (ACheS) performed experiments on how fire eats up oxygen, and demonstrated how clouds form.
In between the classes, the Eryanauts stopped by Mars, an extension of the Earth’s space station, to accommodate all the Eryanauts for their much-awaited lunch. Performances from GaBand graced the luncheon, so the kids couldn’t help but sing along as they enjoyed their meals. They also danced to Shooting Star during their break.
Afterward, as a final test to become official astronauts, G.A.B.A.Y. held a special amazing space race for the Eryanauts. Their goal was to finish the challenges in each planet by applying the lessons they have learned during the alternative classes, and then obtain the pieces that will complete their own spaceship model. They completed challenges such as Paint Me a Picture, Paper Tower, Drop till You Fill Them, Paper Cars, and Rubberband Slingshot.
Finally, when they came back to the Earth, the winners of the Amazing Space Race were awarded – with Scorpius as the winning team, followed by Orion, Lyra, and Draco. To officially welcome the Eryanauts to G.A.B.A.Y., the symbolic stamping of their passports, the distribution of space gears, the awarding of certificates, and the last round of the ACP Dance commenced.
In the end, Space Commanders Abigail Napeñas and Mike Banaylo formally welcomed the new G.A.B.A.Y. astronauts; and thanked the G.A.B.A.Y. members and scientists (core team) who made the Erya Alternative Classes Program possible. As the kids prepared to leave Ateneo to go back to their respective schools, their cheerful smiles, and the friendly gestures of Gabayanos towards the kids served as testaments that this year’s ACP was indeed a success. See you in our next space mission, G.A.B.A.Y. members!