EVERY CHILD, EVERY DAY, WHATEVER IT TAKES!
Astronaut Roger Crouch tells students that it is never too late to fulfill your dream
Astronaut Dr. Roger Crouch visited students at Jones Magnet Middle School on Thursday, January 9, 2020. He had a full day starting with a VIP Meet and Greet, participating in assemblies for all students, meeting with staff and the Astronomy Club, then ending the day with a meet and greet at the school’s planetarium. His message to the students is that it is never too late to fulfill your dream.
Students were very attentive as Crouch told his story of how as a little boy in Tennessee he loved to go to the movies. He shared, “My heroes were people who seemed to be explorers.” He wanted to be a cowboy until he saw a science fiction movie about space. He said it opened a whole new world for him. The quote at the end of the movie, “This is the end of the beginning,” started Crouch’s dream. He was 11 years old and at that time man had not reached the moon. He knew we would one day get there and he wanted to be a part of it.
Crouch earned a Bachelor of Science in physics from Tennessee Polytechnic Institute in 1962, Master of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy in physics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1968 and 1971, respectively.
Crouch served as a scientist and worked in many aspects of the space field. He said he tried for many years to be accepted as an astronaut and finally found out that he would never to accepted due to color blindness. His big break came in the 1990s when the position of payload specialist was available. He found his color blindness was not a disqualifying factor for the position. Finally, at the age of 57, Crouch flew on the space shuttle Columbia. Although this mission was cut short due to fuel problems, he and the crew returned to space 88 days later to complete a full 12-day mission. He said that although he never made it to the moon, after 33 years of trying, he fulfilled his dream of being an astronaut and going into space.
Susan Booth, teacher at Jones, and the organizer of the visit, said it was really important for the students to see that astronauts are real. “He brought a strong message, tying in STEM and showing students that any age or gender can have these careers. Students see and hear about all of these things we study in class. It was an aha moment for the kids.”
Crouch who is now 79 years old is in good health. He and his wife live in Washington, D.C. He said he spends his time working around the house, doing talks and visits such as the one he did at Jones, and tries to complete his wife’s honey-do list.
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