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No. of Recommendations: 57
Last night the girls and I attended a lecture by Eileen Collins, an ex-astronaut and the first female to pilot the space shuttle and the first female to command a shuttle mission. The lecture was free (LBYM Tie-In #1)

Every jr. high/high school kid in town should have been at that lecture. Collins was not a braniac who made straight "A"s - she did make good grades (As,Bs) by dint of hard work and self discipline. And she wanted to fly planes. From since grade school. Really badly. Her family however did not have a lot of money. In a word definitely lower socio-economic. So she was not a kid who had flight lessons at 12 and flying cross-country at 16. She never even set foot in a plane until she was 19 and that was a commercial flight. But when she was growing up her mom and dad would take the family to the local airport where they would park the car and the kids set on the hood of the car, drinking A&W root beer watching the planes land and take off. Cheap Family Entertainment that Supported a Dream (LBYM Tie-In #2)

When she graduated from high school there was no money to go to university. So she enrolled in the local community college (oh the horror!), got a job and lived at home. 2 years later she had an Associates Degree in Math/Science, a scholarship to Syracuse University and no debt (LBYM Tie-In #3)

She didn't just want to fly planes. She wanted to fly really fast, cutting edge planes. So she joined Air Force ROTC and let the Air Force finish paying for her advanced education plus providing all the cool planes you could want. (LBYM Tie-In #4).

All of this didn't happen easily or automatically (ref not a braniac in previous paragraph) - she had to apply about 4 times before she was finally accepted into the test pilot program (prior to that flying cargo planes for AF). I think if she had a central theme to her talk it was that if you know what you really want to do then that's where your energy goes ... you don't get side-tracked by other things - you just concentrate and keep plugging away. And you're practical about it, you don't day dream about it or assume it will drop into your lap or try to make it true by wishful thinking. You come up with a plan and follow through. And get creative about how you can make it happen if you have obstacles (like her lack of family money).

The trouble is that most kids don't have a "passion". Maybe a passion for things - clothes or phones or cars - but not a passion to DO something. Anyway having my 13 year old listen to her was a really good parent thingie to do. Yep.

Plus she had some really good slides of the shuttle launch and being in space so the 5 year old is even more excited about her impending rocket launch. I only hope the rocket gets off the ground; I decided to upgrade on the engine to compensate for the additional weight of all the rhinestones - mind you, I don't imagine the pink feathers will affect the rocket's performance but I do question whether or not they will survive the flight. Let's just say the 5 year old found the decals supplied for her rocket too boring for words and decided to complete assembly of the rocket in style.
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