The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

November 9, 2012

Public invited to ‘An Evening Under the Stars’ exploring NASA Star Lab

By C.V. Moore
Register-Herald Reporter

OAK HILL — Area children and families are invited to spend “An Evening Under the Stars” exploring a NASA Star Lab at the School Street School House in Oak Hill on Monday.

“It’s a great big bubble as large as your classroom. You go inside of it and see the constellations. We’re going to do Native American mythology in honor of Native American Heritage Month,” says Tracy Kincaid, the owner and director of the school.

An inflated vinyl structure 16 feet across and 11 feet high, the Star Lab can accommodate up to 25 people.

The instrument projects the sun, moon, stars and planets. A special projector is used to project constellation outlines and a slide projector is used to show what objects look like up close.

“A lot of people are familiar with the constellation of Orion and the Greek myths. But the same stars were used by Native Americans. The one for Orion would be ‘Long Sash,’” says Kincaid.

“There’s a story behind each one. I will show them and tell the stories.”

School Street School House is a private K-5 elementary school that opened this fall in Oak Hill. It currently has three students and uses the Abeka Curriculum and Montessori Method.

Kincaid found out that, as an educator, she could borrow the Star Lab from NASA for free. She participated in a four-hour training and has been working with her students on Greek and Native American constellations, as well as “urban stars” that can be seen from cities.

“They thought it was really cool,” she says. “Every day it’s, ‘Are we going to go in there today?’”

“I need to take it back soon, and before it leaves, I want the public to know it’s there in case they want to come check it out,” she said.

She also invites interested families to check out the school, which has openings and scholarships available. Tuition is $250 a month.

“We go on lots of field trips and it’s lots of hands-on learning,” says Kincaid. “We’re getting ready to go to Bastion, Va., to the Indian village there.

Kincaid is a published author and children’s story writer who home-schooled her children and has now started the school to give parents an alternative to the public education system in the area.

School Street School House is located in the annex building behind the Historic Oak Hill School at 140 School St. in Oak Hill.

The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday and light refreshments will be served.

For more information on the School Street School House or the event, contact Tracy Kincaid at 304-228-2180.

—E-mail: cmoore@register-herald.com