Kenilworth School students hear motivational talk from retired American astronaut

Kenilworth School students with retired American astronaut Dr Don Thomas
Kenilworth School students with retired American astronaut Dr Don Thomas

Students at Kenilworth School recently received motivational advice from a retired American astronaut.

Dr Don Thomas, a veteran of four Space Shuttle missions, three aboard Columbia and one aboard Discovery, spoke at Kenilworth School on Thursday October 10.

Kenilworth School Headteacher Hayden Abbott said: “He spoke about not giving up. He applied three times to be an astronaut and had been rejected and then was invited for an interview.”

Dr Thomas has spent 44 days in space completing nearly 700 orbits of the Earth and travelling 17.6 million miles in the process. Today he is the director of the Hackerman Academy of Mathematics and Science at Towson University in Maryland, USA.

Dr Thomas has 23 years experience of public speaking in corporate programs, to public educational events, to school assemblies, to classroom visits to special programs for senior citizens in lifelong learning programs.

His presentations often focus on the thrills of the launch, how astronauts eat, sleep, and exercise, the infamous space toilet, and sharing his firsthand experience of his 692 orbits of the Earth.

Mr Abbott added: “The message was very much about following your dreams. It was a very motivation speech.”

Dr Thomas spent most of the day at the school from 8.30am to 1pm speaking to students at two assemblies at the Leyes Lane location of Kenilworth School and a third group of student at the Sixth Form.

Dr Thomas was due to speak at The New Scientist Live event held in London from October 10 to 13.

Mr Abbott added: “It's (The New Scientist Live event) not just about space exploration it's about things that are very topical in science in the moment like artificial intelligence.

"We had a lucky opportunity to have him at Kenilworth. He was really really inspirational.”