It was 25 years ago, on January 28, 1986, that the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after liftoff, killing America's first Teacher in Space, Christa McAuliffe, along with six other crew members.
The events leading up to that day are documented in the powerful 75-minute film, Christa McAuliffe: Reach for the Stars
by filmmakers Renee Sotile and Mary Jo Godges, narrated by actress Susan Sarandon with original music by Carly Simon, whose music McAuliffe carried aboard the shuttle.
With exclusive photos, home movies and interviews that can only be seen in this film we learn that Christa was an advocate for equal rights and would not tolerate bullying in her classroom when it came to sexual orientation.
Tony Potter, Christa's student discusses her intolerance to bullies which made this young gay man feel "safe". "It just felt like she could accept who I really am. At least one person in the world would accept me. You know, it would be Mrs. McAuliffe," says Tony.
When philanthropist, Pepi Kelman saw the film she was so moved she approached the filmmakers about donating 10,000 DVDs to students and educators primarily through GLSEN, (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network).
"As we approach the 25th anniversary of the tragedy, it is only appropriate that we honor the legacy of Christa McAuliffe with the gift of this film to those who might otherwise not have experienced her teachings," says Kelman, donor and co-founder of DOCCLUB LA, a documentary film group in Los Angeles. "I hope that others will join me in this endeavor to reach even more students and teachers and put a stop to bullying once and for all."
Jonathon Del Arco, Develop Consultant at GLSEN says, "we are very excited to receive this film and be able to share it. We plan to give the DVD as a gift at our GALA events and encourage the film to be watched as a family."
"I miss my daughter very much and I'm comforted to know that she lives on in this wonderful film," says Grace Corrigan, Christa's mother. "And now, more people will get the chance to see it," she adds.