WHITE CO, Ind (WLFI) -- A Monticello high school teacher was given the opportunity of a lifetime this summer.
Jill Gilford of Twin Lakes High School was able to attend Space Camp in Huntsville Alabama.
Honeywell's Educators at Space Academy brought educators from 35 different countries and 45 states.
The program aims to inspire math and science teachers to continue their education, and also help promote STEM courses in the classrooms.
Out of more than 2,000 applicants, Jill Gilford was one of just 224 educators to attend a camp that's out of this world.
When Jill Gilford received the news of her acceptance, she could hardly contain her excitement.
"I got the email and I was actually here at school and I jumped up and down and immediately was texting all of my space crew friends, my principal, assistant principal, and I said I get to go to space camp," said Gilford.
With activities from sun up to sun down, Gilford saw little sleep over her five days at camp.
"All day we were in training and simulations, learning about new activities and experiments. It was very hands on and by the end of the day we were exhausted," she said.
Programs ranged from space and crash landing simulations, experiencing moon-like gravity, and a variety of experiments. Gilford recalls her time as captain for a space simulation. "I had my pilot to my right and my mission specialist behind me and we have a flight log. We're supposed to be following a procedure. It was completely mind-boggling how many amazing opportunities we were able to have," said Gilford.
Jill hopes the bonds she made with fellow educators will help influence new material for the classroom.
"Working together with a team from several like-minded educators, we can lean on each other and say hey how do you teach this or do you have an activity on this. We are constantly learning from each other and adding new things to our curriculum," said Jill.
She believes the program will bring a new passion for education.
"This summer was very reinvigorating and it helped me help me refuel my passion for being in the classroom and teaching kids about space and the challenges we face," said Gilford.
Gilford went on to say the biggest benefit of the program was learning how to step out of her comfort zone to try new things.