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Who was Gregory B. Jarvis?

Photo of auditorium stage and Mr. Jarvis' image on the screen

Gregory B. Jarvis Middle School took a moment on January 28, 2016 to remember Mr. Jarvis who graduated from Mohawk in 1962. He tragically died in the Challenger space shuttle explosion, but his life serves as an inspiration to all Central Valley students.

Where did Gregory B. Jarvis Middle School get its name? Who was its namesake? Learn more about Mr. Jarvis and how his life inspires today’s students to reach ever higher in school and in life.

The Jarvis Middle School chapter of the National Junior Honor Society presented this tribute to the entire school  during an assembly marking the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster:

January 28, 2016

Melissa Hoskey (Principal): Good Morning and welcome to our memorial assembly commemorating the life and legacy of Gregory B. Jarvis. Thirty years ago today, our nation was stunned by a terrible tragedy that claimed the lives of the brave men and women that made up the crew of the Challenger. In one unforgettable moment, the lives of so many were changed forever. But a life is made up of many moments and Gregory B. Jarvis’s legacy extends beyond a single tragic moment. Members of our National Junior Honor Society and their advisor, Mrs. Shannon Buttacrolli, have created a presentation for us to not only remember the man who is the namesake for our building, but to inspire each of you to carry his passion for exploration, education, and learning forward into your own futures.

Jazper Polidori (NJHS Vice-President): Gregory B. Jarvis was born on August 24, 1944, in Detroit, Michigan. Mr. Jarvis later moved to Mohawk, NY, where he grew up. He attended Mohawk Central School. Mr. Jarvis attended classes in this building, walked these halls and played in these neighborhoods. He graduated from Mohawk Central School in 1962. He went on to study at the University of Buffalo where he earned a degree in electrical engineering. He then furthered his education at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts earning a master’s degree in electrical engineering.

In July 1969, Mr. Jarvis entered active duty in the Air Force and was assigned to the Space Division in El Segundo, California, where he worked as a communications payload engineer. In 1973, he was honorably discharged from the Air Force, with the rank of Captain. At this t ime he began work at Hughes Aircraft Corp’s where he served in a variety of technical positions until1984 when he was accepted into the astronaut program under Hughes’ sponsorship after competing against 600 other Hughes employees for the opportunity. Gregory B. Jarvis was an astronaut who would now be part of a mission into space.

Joshua Clanton (NJHS Secretary):  Gregory B. Jarvis would be part of the Challenger shuttle crew, of seven astronauts that was set to launch on January 28, 1986, 30 years ago today. The crew included:

  • Francis Scobee
  • Michael J. Smith
  • Judith A Resnik
  • Ronald E. McNair
  • Ellison Onizuka
  • Christa McAuliffe who was the first teacher to be selected on a space shuttle mission
  • Gregory B. Jarvis

The crew members of the Challenger represented a cross-section of the American population in terms of race, gender, geography, background, and religion. The Challenger was launched from the Kennedy Space Center at 11:38 a.m. eastern time on January 28, 1986. The shuttle exploded 73 seconds after launch, killing a seven members of it crew.

The explosion became one of the most significant events of the 1980s.

Mohawk Central High School in Mohawk, NY was renamed Gregory B Jarvis Junior/Senior High School (on Memorial Day, 1986). It is now the Gregory B. Jarvis Middle School of the Central Valley School District.

In 2004, Jarvis was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

Kyle Moulton (NJHS Treasurer):  Gregory B. Jarvis is an American hero who will be remembered for his hard work and determination. While speaking at a commencement ceremony at the University of Buffalo, he was quoted as saying, “always do your job well, you never know who may be watching.” During his life Mr. Jarvis accomplished many great things such as graduating from high school, earning a master’s degree, becoming a captain in the United States Air Force and being part of one of NASA’s space missions to explore and expand our knowledge of the universe. Mr. Jarvis’ life may have ended much too soon, however his legacy continues to live on. Each day as we enter this building his name hangs above the steps, his picture hangs in the lobby and his memory is alive. His life is a reminder that as long as we be li eve in ourselves, we are c pable of anything. We must dream big and reach for the stars. Mr. Jarvis came from a small town, t his town, he walked the same hallways you walk every day, and went on to accomplish amazing things. You can too…

Reilly Rich (NJHS President) We believe that someone in this room will discover the cure for cancer, we believe that someone in this room will run for congress or senate. We believe that someone in this room will help those who suffer from illness. We believe that someone in this room will win a gram my or an Oscar. We believe that someone in this room will help hea l sick animals, we believe that someone in this room will write a best-selling novel, we believe that someone in this room will play a professional sport. We believe that someone in this room will teach children. We believe that someone in this room will fight for their country. We believe that someone in this room will walk on the moon. We…believe…in…each…of…you!!

Today we choose to remember Gregory B. Jarvis’ life. Mr. Jarvis’ memory continues to live on in all of us when we believe in hope, dreams and ourselves.

Shannon Buttacaroli (NJHS Advisor):  January 28, 2016 marks 30 years since the loss of the Challenger crew. In the aftermath of the accident, the crew’s families came together, firmly committed to the belief that they must carry on the spirit of their loved ones by continuing the educational mission. It was in April of 1986, just three months after the accident, that those courageous families created the Challenger Center.

According to the Challenger Center website-The initial plan was for one Challenger Learning Center-a place where kids could learn about the importance of science and math and experience the wonder and awe of space exploration. But, it was support and encouragement from then Vice President George H.W. Bush and many others who gave the families the confidence to grow that vision into something more. The legacy of the Challenger crew would live on and give even more children around the world a chance to take part in something truly special.

Now, 30 years later, with an international footprint across 3 continents, 4 countries and 27 states, we have more than 40 Challenger Learning Centers that have combined to reach over 4.4 million students.

The Challenger centers follow in the footsteps of those seven astronauts, a crew that demonstrated a commitment to being innovators in both their work and personal lives. They continue to inspire students to see their full potential and follow a path that leads to a career in the STEM industry. Never before has there been such a great need for qualified talent in the STEM industry, an industry that also happens to be critical to the success of our society.

In keeping Mr. Jarvis’ legacy alive, we will be sending a small group of interested students to one of the Challenger Centers located in the MiSci museum in Schenectady, NY to participate in a simulated space mission of their own. This opportunity will continue the Challenger’s mission of exploring the universe and expanding our knowledge of space.

Melissa Hoskey (Principal): In the 41 short years that Gregory B. Jarvis lived he built a legacy of exploration, education and a passion for learning. We challenge you to do the same.

Thank you for attending our program. As you continue throughout the day please keep Mr. Jarvis in your thoughts and remember to believe in yourself and reach for the stars.