Coachella Valley Region
Many kids dream of going to space and for Retired Astronaut, Jose Hernandez, that dream came true. Hernandez spoke to kids at "Camp Jedi", a summer program that focuses on robotics and coding on Wednesday, June 22nd. Hernandez shared an inspirational message to kids, remembering what it was like for him, dreaming of going to space.
"At 10 years old, I saw the very last Apollo launch, Apollo 17," Hernandez said. "And watching Gene Cernan, the very last man whose been on the moon, in 1972, was when I decided I wanted to be an astronaut."
Hernandez was one of four kids in a migrant farming family from Mexico. The road to becoming an astronaut wasn’t easy and Hernandez was denied 11 times before being accepted into the program. Those 11 time taught to never quit though, and he knew he had to share that message.
"[It] really paid off… perseverance and always improving yourself; learning from each failure and always trying to do something different to improve your situation."
Hernandez emphasized the value of an education and encouraged kids to get involved in programs like "Camp Jedi" that prepare students for careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Hernandez also shared his most important message to kids, one that carried him all the way to the International Space Station.
"The main message is to never give up," Hernandez said.
For kids like Carlos, a 3rd grader with dreams of the MBA, the message was applicable to his goal of becoming a professional baseball player.
Carlos said that he was excited to learn "how to help the country and to see the world."