Many young kids have been told to dream big, but when that advice is being given from an astronaut who has been out of space, having big dreams doesn't seem so unrealistic.
On Wednesday, NASA astronaut Nicholas Patrick spoke to students at Milton Elementary School.
Patrick, who returned on Feb. 21 from the latest shuttle mission to the International Space Station, spoke to students in the packed auditorium about his mission on the Endeavor and what it takes to become an astronaut.
"A dream is a great thing to have even if you don't achieve it, but you have a lot of fun getting there," Patrick, who still hasn't achieved his own dream of going to the moon, said.
Patrick was born in North Yorkshire, England but grew up in London and Rye, where he attended Midland and Osborn Schools. He will address students at Midland and Osborn today.
Mayor Douglas French, who attended Patrick's presentation at the Milton School, believes students can learn a lot from the astronaut.
"I think there are three things that make this such a great event," French said. "The first is that [Patrick] shares the same experience in growing up as those he will be speaking to—there is an instant connection. The second is the enormous fascination with science and exploration and what he can share and teach. And the last, is the example he brings by setting big goals and having big dreams and what one can accomplish through hard work and perseverance."
During his space mission, Patrick completed several spacewalks. As a NASA astronaut he has logged over 300 hours in space.
Patrick urged students to go home and ask their parents to take them outside and see the space station travel by.
"It looks like a giant golden star," he said.
Milton Principal JoAnne Nardone hoped students were inspired by the presentation.
"I want them to see you can accomplish wonderful things if you set goals and believe in yourself," Nardone said. "I want them to see what they learn in school has applications in life and to appreciate the value of science and exploration."
Patrick spoke later that day at Rye Free Reading Room. Maria Lagonia organized the event at the library and was excited to hear about Patrick's life, career and his work with NASA.
"Many lucky students will have a chance to hear him speak when he visits their schools. But those who don't have that opportunity, their parents and others in the area, we're able to enjoy the presentation at the library," Lagonia said.
While Patrick spoke and showed photos of some of the fun the astronauts had in space, such as trying to eat scrambled eggs, he told students that safety is the most important part of any mission and that he was always happy to be back on Earth.
"The best part of any mission is getting home back to my family," Patrick said.