Everywhere they have turned, Brookings students headed for this week?s space shuttle launch found more help in the community to make the trip possible.

Eight students and three teachers left Tuesday for the all-night flight from Portland to Florida, where they will be in the VIP bunker to witness Thursday evening?s launch of the space shuttle Endeavor.

Science classes from both schools will be participating in the ground-based portion of one of the shuttle?s on-board experiments, called Seeds in Space.

Tickets to the launch were made possible through the program, with funding from the Tommy E. Short Charitable Foundation. Short is a BHHS alumnus; Azalea dean of students Darrell Erb and his wife, Laura, are both board members of the foundation.

A pair of $3,000 grants from the Curry Coastal Pilot and Daryn Farmer of State Farm Insurance are making the trip to Cape Canaveral possible.

Meanwhile, according to Erb, he encountered help from throughout the community on other portions of the trip.

Pelican Bay Travel waived its fees on the airline tickets. Coast Auto loaned two vans for the drive to Portland. U.S. Bank waived fees on travelers? checks. Brookings Harbor Medical Center funded matching sweatshirts for the traveling students, as well as acknowledgement for the students who applied, but were not chosen, for the trip.

Erb?s parents donated the use of a Florida condominium for their housing.

Even as the students were loading up Tuesday, Azalea computer science teacher Maggie Prevenas was loading them up with digital cameras to record the trip.

The traveling students will be responsible for reporting about the trip to their classmates and the community.

Erb said that in addition to the Kennedy Space Center, the students will get to visit the Epcot Center.

?I?ve told them they must see a dolphin, a manatee and pink flamingos,? he said.

The students are due back in Portland Sunday, and back in classes on Monday.

Meanwhile, the student portions of the Seeds in Space experiment are headed for Brookings. The students and the space shuttle astronauts will be planting identical mustard seeds at the same time and measuring the plants for later comparison against ground and in-space growth patterns.