ST. CLOUD - Seven NASA Astronauts visited Apollo High School on Thursday night, telling their stories and encouraging students to chase their dreams.

The astronauts at the event were Charlie Duke (Apollo 16), Al Worden (Apollo 15), Walt Cunningham (Apollo 7), Jack Lousma (Skylab 3), Jerry Carr (Skylab 4), Ed Gibson (Skylab 4), and Space Shuttle Challenger Pilot Jon McBride.

McBride opened the presentation and told students in attendance how he first fell in love with space exploration.

"I remember back in my high school days we were starting to build and launch rockets and were sending people into space-I was excited about that kind of stuff," McBride said.

Apollo 7 astronaut Walt Cunningham told the crowd and students that they should chase their dreams and to not be afraid of failure.

"You should fail because you were unable to do something, don't fail because you were unwilling to tackle it in the first place," Cunningham said, "the older I get the more I realize just how fortunate I was to grow up in the most facinating age in history."

At the end of the presentation the astronauts announced that they will be donating their flight jackets to be put on display in Apollo. They also left hand prints and signatures to be put near the Apollo test capsule outside of the school.

"The youngsters over the next 50 years can look at these flight jackets and these hand prints and think that maybe they too can leave St. Cloud and fly in space," McBride said.

 

Space Shuttle Challenger Pilot Jon McBride. (Dan DeBaun, WJON News)