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Marshall County Fifth Grader Named Winner of Challenger Learning Centers Nose Cone Naming Contest

Paducah, KY (April 26, 2016) Sharpe Elementary fifth grader Cody Peterson was recognized as the winner of the recent Challenger Learning Center at Paducahs Name the Nose Cone contest during a dedication ceremony at the center yesterday.

From more than 40 entries, Petersons nose cone name Silver Phoenix was announced as the winning entry of the March 2016 contest, which was open to area kindergarten eighth grade students. Peterson, a Marshall County resident, had an interesting way of coming up with the name.

I was riding home down the road with my mom, and she asked if I had come up with a name yet. I thought it would be something with the word phoenix in it; I love them, said Peterson, who admits he didnt know the exact meaning of the word.

My mom looked up the word when we got home, he said. A phoenix is a mythological bird, which lived a long time and is reborn. Thats how I knew Silver Phoenix was it.

The nose cone is a historical piece of space history that has been around a long time and has been reborn as a beautiful display outside the center, said CLC Director Mellisa Duncan. Codys name is a perfect fit.

The nose cone traveled into space sub-orbitally on an Atlas rocket in the mid 60s - the same type of rocket that John Glenn piloted in his historic three-orbit cycle around the Earth in 1962. Although this nose cone did not orbit the Earth, it was a test for the U.S. Air Forces Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Program. The nose cone did not carry a missile, but instead was used to test for reentry and the best time for missile detonation.

The cone arrived in Paducah around 1967 thanks to Colonel Harry Hester, former commander of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). The nose cone, which sat outside the former CAP building for many years disappeared until it was found and set to be sold at auction last fall. However before the auction, the Paducah Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol regained control of the cone and donated it to the CLC in October 2015.

Hester passed away in 2008, but his nephews, Rick and Mike Brewer and David Gholson, along with nearly 40 other attendees, were part of Mondays dedication in their uncles memory.

Also in attendance was Major Greg Siener of the Paducah Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol who said keeping the nose cone in Paducah at the Challenger Center is a way to keep Colonel Hesters memory alive.

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