POSTED: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 4:08pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 4:17pm
WESLACO — Former Weslaco High School graduates helped launch a helium filled weather balloon with pictures of students and the superintendent.
Each of the 13 students earned a spot by writing a winning essay on the importance of technology, including Hailey Lieja.
"My little sister Penelope means a lot to me. She's very, very special to me...without technology..." said Hailey Lieja as she tears up.
Little Hailey chokes up because she knows first hand the importance of technology.
"It's okay, the thing is her sister was born with a heart condition and without that surgery she wouldn't have been able to make it," said Hailey's mother, Veronica Leija.
The Leija family is proud their daughter is among the students to lift off into space. Within a couple of hours the balloon floated more than 90-thousand feet.
Two separate cameras attached to the balloons caught every moment on camera.
"Wow, that is amazing, isn't that cool?! That is...oh my goodness," said faculty as they watched.
After the weather balloon popped, GPS helped track the craft to a field in Edinburg.
"It's invaluable, being out there, seeing how it actually worked. Problem solving. While they were working on it they were already thinking of ways to improve it," said Superintendent Dr. Ruben Alejandro.
It's a moment in life, the students and faculty will never forget and a day the district was able to truly apply their new motto, "Empowering 21st Century Learners."