Holy Family School (Elmira) recently had a “heavenly visitor” – Astronaut Eileen Collins.
Col. Collins grew up in Elmira and attended our Catholic schools (before our consolidation) and had a very impressive aerospace career, which included a historic list of “firsts”. Those included: being the first female astronaut to pilot a space mission, and the first female to command a space mission. She was also the first female Air Force flight instructor at several air bases and the Air Force Academy where she was also an instructor of mathematics.
But it was her visit to Holy Family that inspired some great questions from our students. Her presentation lasted roughly 45 minutes and the Q.& A. session continued for another 45.
Some of the questions included: “What made you want to become an astronaut?” … “Were you ever afraid to go up in space?” … “Could you see God while you were up in space”? (Note about the last question: Eileen, who is close to her Catholic faith, didn’t say that she could see God, but could feel his presence and see his magnificent work all around her.
Eileen’s complete story can be found in the recently published book, “Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars”.