It was an inspirational day for students at Gonzaga Prep as they watched fellow bullpup Anne McClain arrive at the International Space Station.
For about three hours, students interested in math and science careers gathered in a classroom to watch McClain dock at the space station and exit the Russian Soyuz rocket after her six-hour flight.
As they stared at the projector screen, the excitement on their faces was clearly visible.
“You just see this person that was in the same exact shoes that you’re in achieve something amazing,” said junior Rigee Olavides. “That just makes me feel inspired to be a better person for others and strive for my dreams.”
“It’s just really cool to think that someone who was potentially sitting in the same math spot or the same science seat that I [do] was able to go so far and accomplish her dreams,” said Molly Niedermeyer, a student who wants to become a pediatrician.
About 36 years after she first thought of becoming an astronaut, McClain has made it to outer space. Now she’s accomplishing her dreams and helping others work toward theirs.
“It’s motivating to see how far she’s been able to come and see how far I can go in my own life,” said senior Ned McEwen.
McClain beginning her mission is a lesson to never stop working toward your goals. It’s something the school’s president hopes each of the students takes away from the day.
“As educators, at the heart of your work is to inspire students to pursue their dreams,” said Michael Dougherty, Gonzaga Prep’s president. “You teach them to shoot for the stars. Today’s a day when that metaphor becomes a reality.”
Spokane Mayor David Condon released a proclamation on Monday declaring Dec. 3 as Anne McClain Day.
McClain is scheduled to be on the ISS until June 2019. Students at the school will have the opportunity to chat with her around the beginning of the New Year.