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Reach for the stars: Astronaut tells students to follow passions

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

LILBURN -- Astronaut Tom Marshburn encouraged sixth-grade students at Trickum Middle School on Friday to throw their energy into their passions.

Marshburn, a graduate of Henderson High School, visited several Atlanta-area locations to speak to students and community members about his 16-day trip in space last July.

"I loved space since I was 9 years old," said Marshburn, an emergency room medical doctor who works for NASA. "But I didn't think I could be an astronaut. If you want to be an astronaut, fall in love with something. ... Start today. Learn how to learn. That's important for being an astronaut."

Student Raymond Clark, 11, said he enjoyed Marshburn's stories about space, especially one about how astronauts used chopsticks to catch water bubbles before ingesting them.

"I think that space is really cool, and I think one day we'll get through the whole galaxy," Clark said. "I think (Marshburn's story was) inspiring, because now I want to go into space."

Marshburn's three-day tour was sponsored by Up Close and Personal magazine, which circulates in Lilburn and Tucker, and DeKalb Medical Center. In addition to visiting Trickum, Marshburn also visited Parkview High.

Brian Lucy, a gifted science teacher at Trickum, said the school arranged for sixth-graders to listen to Marshburn because they study earth science, which includes space science.