CHS Aviation Students Get Visit From Astronaut, Colonel Eric Boe

Dream big and set your goals high

Colonel Eric Boe, US Air Force Colonel and NASA astronaut, took time from his busy schedule in February to visit with aviation students at Choctawhatchee High School.

“Ken Fielder, Director of the Choctawhatchee Aviation Institute, arranged the visit,” said Rick Soria, Assistant Principal at Choctawhatchee High School. “The opportunity to visit with an astronaut like Colonel Boe was a welcome treat for the students and faculty.”

Colonel Boe shared stories of his flying assignments at the 33rd Fighter Wing and the 46th Test Wing, both at Eglin AFB, before his selection for astronaut duty in 2000.

After a short video chronicling the missions of the Shuttle Discovery, Colonel Boe encouraged students to use a search engine to find out where they could see the International Space Station (ISS) when it flies over.

“If you have ever seen Venus as it transits, the ISS will look just like Venus,” said Colonel Boe. “We still have people in space and the current six-man crew of the ISS consists of three Russian cosmonauts, a Belgian astronaut and to American astronauts. One of the best outcomes of the space program is that we are collaborating with former enemies.”

Colonel Boe explained to the students the continued importance of space exploration “as we still know so little about the moon” and that teamwork is a critical component to the success of all aviation programs. Boe spoke highly of the team of people that were responsible for making certain his military jet was ready to fly and of the thousands of people who were on the space shuttle team.

“It takes a lot of people to make this work,” said Colonel Boe.

“You have to dream big,” Colonel Boe said as he encouraged the students. “You must have a dream first. Then envision your dream becoming a reality. Make sure you set the goals high.”

When asked to elaborate on some of the things he had learned along the way, the Colonel smiled and said, “Life is a journey. Enjoy the trip. Find your passion and never give up (on your goals). But be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”