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Maine teacher appears on TODAY Show to honor her former teacher Christa McAuliffe

Holly Merrow, a teacher in Belfast, said she and her former classmates wanted to do their part on the 35th anniversary of the Challenger disaster.

BELFAST, Maine — It may have been 35 years ago, but Holly Merrow remembers the day her teacher's space shuttle exploded in the sky like it was yesterday.

Merrow and her former high school classmates were featured on the TODAY Show Thursday to mark the anniversary of the Challenger disaster. 

She is a teacher in Belfast who was a student of Christa McAuliffe growing up in Concord, NH. 

McAuliffe, who would have been the first teacher in space, was one of seven crew members killed when the historic shuttle launch turned national nightmare in January 1986.

Merrow was watching the event live on TV at Concord High School that day. 

"We never want to forget these people," Merrow said.

Merrow said she did not do the interview with TODAY's Hoda Kotb for the fame or the attention, but to honor McAuliffe's legacy. 

After talking with some of her former peers last week, all three of them teachers, the group decided even though 35 years have passed, they needed people to remember the person their then teacher was.

"I  want her to be remembered as someone who stepped outside of her comfort zone," she said. "And really took a leap to do something that really no one else got to do. I want kids to feel that they can do the same, that they can do and be anything they want to be."

It is that message she hopes resonates with her own students now. 

McAuliffe was just 37 years old.


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