Stars Are the Limit at Grand Opening of Alpha: José Hernández Middle School
By Martha Sessums
Today’s educators focus so much on technology in the classroom, but the inspiration to learn can come from the stars.
Astronaut José M. Hernández was a child migrant worker when Apollo 10’s Eugene Cernan walked on the moon in 1969. Hernández decided to be an astronaut the night he looked at the moon while watching the TV pictures of Cernan bouncing on the far away landscape.
This was Hernández’s main story at the recent grand opening of his namesake Alpha: José Hernández Middle School. This is also the location of ACE’s newest Learning Center, the Association for Continuing Education Parent Center, which will be opening soon.
Instead of the traditional ribbon cutting ceremony, there was a launch
of paper rockets. Hernández and several students listened to the audience’s loud countdown and pulled the ripcord on four rocket launchers, shooting paper cylinders up in the air. Harmlessly, of course.
The students, parents and administration were thrilled to meet and talk with Hernández. He met students before the ceremony and signed his book. After several TV interviews, he got down to the business of having a school named after him. There was a lot of talk of dreams and stars.
The evening Hernández saw Cernan, he told his father his dream of becoming an astronaut. His dad, who had only made it through 3rd grade, said Hernández could do it using a “five ingredient recipe.”
1. Decide what to do
2. Recognize how far you are from your goal
3. Draw a roadmap to that goal
4. Go to school for the required education
5. Put in the effort
Hernández added a sixth ingredient: Perseverance. “Never give up,” he said. “NASA rejected me 11 times before they accepted me into the astronaut training program.”
Hope Evans, principal of Alpha: José Hernández Middle School, reminded students that part of success was community. “Together, we are part of a greater community.”
John Glover, founder of Alpha Public Schools, underscored the effort required to meet your dreams. “Your path and destiny is determined by your hard work,” he told the 170 new middle school students.
Student speaker Iris Valenzuela talked of the “professionalism” she learned at Alpha that enveloped her actions, including “getting the homework done.” Student Andy Rosas spoke of focusing on the ”time and energy of his very own star,” which was being a soccer player.
“Stars are the limit,” Hernández reminded us.
Add technology, and Alpha students can galaxy hop. Or score hat-tricks.