FISD encourages the question, ‘Why not you?’

NASA, SpaceX employees don’t let small-town stigma hold them back

By Ken Esten Cooke— The Super Bowl and space exploration don’t have many common traits. But the attitude of “can do” permeates both things where an NFL star quarterback and local high school graduates are concerned.

Russell Wilson — the comparatively short, non-prototypical quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks — was raised right. He told reporters after Sunday’s big game: “My dad used to always tell me, ‘Russ, why not you?’ And what that meant was believe in yourself, believe in the talent God has given you even though you are 5 foot 11, and you can go a long way.”

Those reinforcing words are invaluable to a child’s confidence. We should all encourage our children to be so secure in themselves and their talents. It’s a big world out there — and a big universe, too.

Our story last week of Fredericksburg High School graduate Rebekah Sosland and her work with NASA’s Mars rover rings true of the saying, “Why not you?” Perhaps her parents asked her that when she was younger. Sosland was introduced to the Rover as a middle-school student when she saw a program on its landing a decade ago. That sparked her interest, and now she is at the controls of the inter-planetary explorer.

But sometimes youth from smaller school districts feel they lack skills or smarts to compete with those from larger districts or wealthy private schools. Fredericksburg Independent School District has done its best to combat that supposed inferiority complex.

We praise FHS instructor Brett Williams, who spearheaded an innovative study program geared toward the STEM curriculum — science, technology, engineering and math. Through his work, and the stellar support of the FISD administration and other teachers, the program is nationally recognized today. FHS graduates are well-regarded, in part, for their courses of study, and the prodigious rockets program for which the school is the envy of other less-advantageous districts around the nation.

Other FHS graduates have gone on to work at the growing SpaceX private company which is pioneering space travel as government budgets tighten for such adventures. Those employees are at the forefront of a space travel revolution, one that will likely include civilian travel in the not-too-distant future.

Miss Sosland and the SpaceX employees are all serving as great examples to our local youths hoping to study the sciences.

Indeed, “why not you?”

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