Special Events | WKCTC

Special Events

Challenger Learning Center

20th AnniversARy Celebrations

On August 16, 2002, the Challenger Learning Center at Paducah officially opened its doors to provide local students and the community with unique STEM learning opportunities.  Since the first mission on September 16, 2002, thousands of students have flown to space in over 4,000 simulated space missions in our unique hands-on simulators.  Please join us for our student and community events intended to honor the legacy of the Challenger crew and to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the center.

Patch Contest

We need your help designing our 20th Anniversary patch!  Any student in 5th - 12th grade, who has attended any Challenger Learning Center program, is encouraged to submit their original artwork for our 20th Anniversary patch!  Entry deadline is March 2, 2023.

Any current 5th-12th grade student who has attended any Challenger Learning Center program.

  • Only students in 5th through 12th grades who have attended a program at the Challenger Learning Center at Paducah are eligible.
  • Each entry must be submitted online through the entry form link provided.
  • Drawings must be clean, precise and colorful. They must be hand drawn or computer designed. Computer designs that include any form of clipart or predesigned art, will be immediately disqualified. 
  • Patches should not contain the NASA logo in any form.  Entries that contain the NASA logo will be immediately disqualified.
  • We encourage correct spelling and grammar if using wordage on the patch.
  • We encourage the following words/number to be incorporated into the patch drawing: Challenger Learning Center, 20
  • Before submitting your artwork file, file must be saved in this format:   LASTNAME-firstname  (ex. DOE-john)

Patches must represent the Challenger Learning Center and its mission of inspiring students to study science, technology, engineering and math over the past 20 years. Any entry that does not follow the rules and guidelines will be automatically disqualified. 

Judges will be members of the Paducah Junior College board and staff of the Challenger Learning Center.

The student whose patch is chosen as the 20th Anniversary patch will receive a visit from Kentucky’s astronaut Terry Wilcutt for their school*. This visit must take place on the morning of April 17 or 18, 2023. If accommodations cannot be made by the school on either of these days, a Zoom will be scheduled for a later date. Col. Wilcutt will give a presentation for the entire school.

The patch will also be produced and used for 20th Anniversary celebrations at the Challenger Learning Center. The winner will receive stickers of patch to share with family and friends. 

*School must be within 60 miles of Challenger Learning Center at Paducah.  If school is located beyond 60 miles, only a Zoom session will apply.

All entries must be submitted via this form by March 2, 2023. Late entries will not be accepted.

Click here to submit your entry.


Astronaut Night

Terry Wilcutt

Please join us for a special presentation by retired NASA Astronaut, Colonel Terry Wilcutt, Kentucky's only astronaut!

April 18, 2023

Wilcutt Presentation 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Clemens Fine Arts Center Theatre
West Kentucky Community & Technical College
(For schools/groups of 10 or more, please call us at (270) 534-3101.)

Open House 7:30-9:00 p.m.
Challenger Learning Center
West Kentucky Community & Technical College

  • Receive a free Moon Pie™ (while supplies last)
  • Receive a free lithograph of Colonel Wilcutt
  • Get your lithograph autographed by Colonel Wilcutt
  • Take a tour of the Challenger Learning Center