The annual Astronaut Lacy Veach Day of Discovery honors the life of the late Charles Lacy Veach, a 1962 Punahou graduate who served for fourteen years as a pilot in the US Air Force and went on to fly two NASA space shuttle missions. Each year on that day (in late October), about 400 public and private-school students and 200 parents from across the state convene on Punahou’s campus to participate in hands-on learning through a variety of science-based workshops, exhibits and demonstrations. The spirit of scientific discovery and exploration that characterizes this free public event speaks to Veach’s lasting legacy, exemplified by these words of advice to Hawai‘i’s youngsters: "You've got to believe in your dreams and you've got to be hard-headed enough to never let go.”
Featuring a wide range of activities, workshops have touched on everything from robotics, Martian vehicles and bottle rockets, to space suits, astronomy and slime. Fun, accessible activities with real-world connections encourage students to explore their natural interests and get excited about science education.
In honor of the event’s tenth anniversary, Governor Neil Abercrombie proclaimed October 29, 2011, “Lacy Veach Day of Discovery.” To celebrate this landmark, Veach’s close friend, Polynesian navigator Nainoa Thompson ‘72, delivered a keynote speech commemorating Veach’s invaluable contributions to society. Previous keynote speakers have included NASA astronauts Joseph Acaba and Stanley Love, Hawaiian master navigator Chad Kalepa Baybayan and Scott Veach, son of Lacy Veach.
The Astronaut Lacy Veach Day of Discovery is sponsored by Punahou School, Hawai`i Space Grant Consortium, Hawaiian Electric Company, the family of Lacy Veach and the Chatlos Foundation in cooperation with the Hawai`i State Teachers Association and the Polynesian Voyaging Society.
Astronaut Lacy Veach Day of Discovery website
A Conversation Between Astronaut and Navigator
View video of the historic three-way satellite conversation linking students with astronaut Lacy Veach ’62 on Space Shuttle Columbia and navigator Nainoa Thompson ’72 on the Hokule‘a in the Pacific Ocean which took place in 1992.