Best Young Planetarium - 2001
Once upon a time, Room 103 of Denver's Steele Elementary School was just another classroom -- then it became a shining example of educational enterprise. First, in 1983, someone hung a dome from the ceiling and added a projector to throw changing images of the night sky across it. Then, in 1989, fifth-grade teacher Ralph Sodano officially became Denver Public Schools' resident astronomy educator. Today he gives two or three shows a day to more than 6,000 children annually. The shows, presented during the school year, and only by appointment, are always free, even to groups from outside DPS. Sodano organizes his displays for the appropriate age and education level; otherwise, the sky's the limit. Steele's a star!