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Knox County fifth grader wins national Girl Scout essay writing contest and a badge from outer space

A fifth-grade girl scout from Ball Camp Elementary is the winner of a national essay contest called “Girl Scouts to the Moon and Back.”

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Gracie Ogle, a fifth-grade girl scout at Ball Camp Elementary, won a national essay writing contest entitled "Girl Scouts to the Moon and Back." She will be awarded a space science badge that was on NASA's Artemis I.

Artemis I launched into orbit on Nov. 16 and will complete its mission on Dec. 11. This mission is one step that NASA is taking in order to send the first woman and the first person of color to the moon. 

The Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians CEO Lynne Fugate said that they are "over the moon about Gracie's success."

“For more than 110 years, girls have explored, developed and sharpened their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills through Girl Scouting," Fugate said. "They lead their own adventures, team up with others and learn valuable skills with hands-on STEM activities.”

Gracie, who is a junior-level girl scout member of Troop 22040, was one of 81 Girl Scouts from across the country to have an essay chosen. She is the sole recipient from the state of Tennessee.

NASA is a Girl Scouts partner, and helps to inspire girls to go into careers in STEM. Girl Scouts encourages girls to dream big and see themselves in roles of leadership. According to Fugate, it has been inspiring for young women to see Girl Scout alums take part in the Artemis I mission – including NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy and the first female launch director, Charlie Blackwell-Thompson.

Ogle will receive her badge once the capsule returns to Earth. 

“We think it will be well worth the wait to receive such an out-of-this-world prize!” Fugate said.

Here's a bit of Gracie's award-winning essay: 

“If I was the first kid to go into space, I would go to the moon and do moon jumps. I would also collect glittery and special moon rocks. I would see what experiments I can do with moon dust, and then I would take a moon buggy ride. I would also start a map of the moon so future explorers could go to the other side of the moon and finish the map.”

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