'Full Throttle Up' Continues to Teach of Legacy

Resnik's Memory Lives On In Students
Posted on 05/18/2021
Image of Full Throttle Up Video(Betsy Kling for WKYC.com/WKYC TV)

In Akron, Judy Resnik's legacy of strength, smarts and determination is not forgotten.

Resnik was a trailblazer. An engineer, a pilot and only the second female American astronaut to travel to space. But her inspiring story was cut tragically short by the Challenger disaster 35 years ago, this year.

Resnik was also a Northeast Ohioan - growing up in Akron and attending Akron Public Schools. Her memory still lives on in the voices of students from those very same schools. Judith A. Resnik CLC, the former Fairlawn Elementary, was named in her honor in 2006.

"When they first taught me about her, I was really inspired, and I was like, wow, I can't believe I'm walking in the place where a real astronaut was walking," said 10-year-old Breauna Daniel, a current Resnik CLC student.

Daniel was one of several students from the elementary school who, along with students from Hyre CLC, an Akron middle school, took part in a recorded virtual performance of the song "Full Throttle Up," which was written a number of years ago by Hyre Music Director Kim Shama-Hanna.

"I just remember the sadness of that moment, but I didn't want to focus on the sadness. I just wanted to focus on what incredible person she was," Shama-Hanna says of the inspiration behind the song.

"It touches me to hear them singing it, it is truly a blessing."

Now, it's tradition for Resnik CLC students to sing "Full Throttle Up," says music director Alyssa Miller.

"I use this song really as an opportunity to ... introduce them to her and let them know why your school is named after her."

But on this 35th anniversary year, with Akron schools still remote over the winter, Miller and Shama-Hanna decided to team up to put together a special virtual performance.

"[With] this whole COVID situation, I wanted our kids to still be able to perform, so I downloaded a program for video editing, Shama-Hannah explained.

The students we spoke with say they love singing the words that honor their hometown hero.

"I like the part it's kind of like between the middle and the end. It goes, 'dance upon the moon, sing among the stars.' I like that part," said Hyre student Jessica Hupcej.

"My favorite part of the song is 'never heard of limits' because it's like nobody could limit her or she can't limit herself," added Resnik student, Parker Brown.

Their teachers says they're inspired, too.

"I really like the [line] 'who I am is a soul of a poet and a curious mind.' I think I kind of identify with that a little bit, too," Miller said.

The words are a lesson in one woman’s courage and spirit that still rings true, all these years later.

"Basically, it's just really inspiring, and it tells you that you can do anything, you're not held back," said Hyre student Teela Watson. "I just really hope that we can keep sharing her amazing story and showing kids that they can do what they want to do, and I feel even more inspired after learning about her to go for it."

Watch the video below:

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