June 17, 2004 - Houston Comets forward/center Lucienne Berthieu tipped off the Comets Read to Achieve season at the Challenger Learning Center at the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS), where she and children from Phoenix Outreach Youth Center went on a reading mission to explore comets.
Berthieu and the children became astronauts and explored new frontiers, as they boarded a satellite on a “mission” to Mars, encountering many comets along the way. Led by Mission Commander James Talmage and Flight Director Tara Oakes, Berthieu and the children had specific jobs on this simulated space mission that required reading, problem solving and teamwork to bring their satellite safely back to Earth.
In 1986, families of the Challenger 51-L crew founded Challenger Center for Space Science Education with a vision of to continue the crew's educational mission to inspire, explore and learn. The Houston Museum of Natural Science developed the first Challenger Center site, and it has served students for more than 15 years. With more than 50 centers across America, Canada and England, the Challenger Center continues to help many youngsters realize that the sky is no longer the limit.
“Read to Achieve” is a NBA and WNBA league-wide initiative to help young people develop a life-long love for reading. Reaching an estimated 50 million children a year, “Read to Achieve” is the most extensive educational outreach initiative in the history of professional sports.