Community Spotlight: NASA Astronaut Speaks With Pine River-Backus Students
Students in one local school district got to speak to astronaut Mark Vande Hei via Skype and ask him questions about what it was like to be up in space.
“The impact on the kids, this is something that will make them dream big and pursue mathematics, technology and engineering,” said Elementary Teacher Robbi Gregory.
Faculty and staff at Pine River-Backus Schools wanted to demonstrate to their students that even in a small town, you can dream big.
“People like this, who are like us in a small town and a small school, don’t get to do stuff like this very often, and it’s really cool that you are talking to someone that is in space,” said seventh grader Miles DeSanto.
Miles and 19 of his classmates were selected to ask the astronaut a question. “I felt nervous and kind of excited,” said second grader Eleanor Peterson.
There were a wide variety of questions based on personal interest.
“I always wanted to become an astronaut or something to do with space, so it is really cool to hear from an astronaut,” said ninth grader Emma Cincoski.
Seeing the reactions of the students was the best part of the day for Gregory.
“I was so proud. These kids who were so nervous beforehand they were confident and eloquent,” said Gregory.
Each year, as few as four schools across the United States get selected for this star-studded experience.
“It’s astonishing that we were chosen, we are all very excited,” said Gregory.
After the Q&A session, students headed to the gym, where they were able to learn more through hands-on experience.
“Mr. Vande Hei is an engineer and I want to be an engineer when I get older, so to see his perspective,” said tenth grader Emma Barchus.
The experience showed students of all ages that they can be shining stars.
“They can do amazing things no matter where they are at,” said Community Ed Director Troy Gregory.