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Norwalk Teacher Gets a Close Shave for Astronauts

Second grade teacher Andy Pearce had the right stuff — a professorial goatee. But he made the ultimate sacrifice.

He shaved his beard to help raise funds for Columbus Magnet School's Young Astronaut program. At Friday night's ziti bingo dinner, 26 fifth-grade astronauts outfitted in flight suits were introduced one by one to cheering crowds of parents and friends. Bingo and a raffle followed.

Every year, Pearce — known by the astronauts as "C in C" or Commander in Chief — organizes a simulated space mission for a group of fifth-graders. The mission, which takes place in early May, is preceded by a year of science and technology lessons, physical training and team-building exercises.

This year's mission has been named "Humanity Unbound." It celebrates 50 years of manned space flights, 30 years since the first space shuttle, Columbia, launched and 30 years of Columbus as a magnet school.

"The confluence of anniversaries in 2011 is more than fortuitous. The dreams that propelled humans to reach for the stars are the same dreams that inspire the members of Humanity Unbound and, indeed, all Columbus students. It is these young people who are the sowers of the seeds of destiny and our collective futures," says the Young Astronauts mission statement written by Pearce.

Do you have a Young Astronaut in your home? Tell us about his or her experiences.

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