The Sally Ride Center for Environmental Science opened with great festivity Monday morning. It was a very special tribute to a woman who blazed a trail for future generations.
"Female astronauts are a big part of history because they kind of broke the barrier of the sexist sort of outlook on the way that people work, and the way that jobs are sort of looked at, and I think that this is a great way to tell kids and little girls, and even boys, that you can be whatever you want," said Keelin Murray, a 7th-grade environment studies magnet student at Thomas Starr King Middle School.
Sally Ride's mother says her daughter's journey, which eventually made her the first American female astronaut in space, and also the youngest, began in high school when Ride was inspired by her science teacher.
"My husband was a political scientist and I was a psychology major, and we never knew where Sally came from, but we did know that she was greatly influenced by her science teachers," said Sally's mother, Joyce Ride.
"She was always very serious about supporting kids, getting them excited, igniting their curiosity, the natural curiosity that they already have," said Bear Ride, Sally's sister.
Sally Ride died last year of cancer. But while the space exploration pioneer and physicist could not be there to see the center named after her, the hope at the center is that the woman who left a legacy in space will make positive changes on the planet she once looked down upon from the heavens.
"Environmental science is important because kids need to know what their options are and what needs to be done in order to restore the Earth's health," said student Keelin Murray.