Corner Brook students learn life lessons from astronaut


Cory Hurley
Published on June 3, 2014

Sarah Flynn heard Maj. Jeremy Hansen’s message to believe in herself, but she plans to apply it to something a little closer to home.

Hansen, a Canadian Space Agency astronaut, visited J.J. Curling Elementary school Tuesday morning. He told about 300 K-6 students to “believe in yourself.” The anything-is-possible message resonated with a number of the students, helped by the exploration and training pictures and videos Hansen brought with him.

Flynn, a 10-year-old Grade 5 student, could certainly use a zero-gravity environment as she performs her gymnastics routines, but she will start with gaining a little more confidence hearing that she could reach her goals if she believes.

“I am in gymnastics,” she said. ”So, I can believe in myself to have a career in that.”

Like many of her fellow students, Flynn said it was “cool” Hansen came to the school Tuesday morning.

From six-year-old Cody Jacobs to 11-year-old Joshua Higdon, space is considered an interesting subject.

While Jacobs enjoyed hearing about rockets, Higdon was intrigued by the training regimen of an astronaut.

“He was really good,” said Brandon Higdon, a nine-year-old Grade 3 student. “I liked that he came here. He showed us videos of outer space and stuff and him in the caves.”

Hansen said the Canadian Space Agency has some time and resources to put into tours such as the one he is currently on.

He will be visiting a number of schools throughout the province this week, and his visit to Corner Brook also includes a stop at the Gallipoli Armoury to speak with some local cadets.

The astronaut told the elementary students that when he was their age, he was no different than them — nothing particularly special about him.He said he hoped to be able to pass along the same motivation and inspiration that was given to him as a child.

“People invested in me,” the former air cadet said. “Most importantly people taught me to believe in myself. I just kept working towards my dreams and my goals.”

Of course, there’s also a message about space exploration. Hansen said there’s pretty much no limit to what the future astronauts could do.

One of the students he spoke with Tuesday could very well walk on Mars some day. Progression of space exploration — just like flight in general — has been happening at an exponential rate, he noted.

“I don’t think they’ll get it yet, but it is important eventually they realize that, in their lifetime, they are going to have more opportunities in space than my generation have,” he said. “It is going to become more and more prevalent. It is going to become more commonplace to travel in space.”


Major Jeremy Hansen hopes the students of J.J. Curling Elementary believe in themselves just a little more today.

The Canadian Space Agency astronaut visited the Corner Brook school this morning as part of a tour that continues across the province this week. He will meet with cadets at the Gallipoli Armoury this evening.

Hansen’s message to the students was “believe in yourself.” He told them he was not much different than any of them at their age, that he was not special in a certain way to get to where he is.

He also wanted the young children to know that space exploration is expected to be much different for their generation. He said there will likely be somebody walking on Mars in their lifetime.

He spoke for about 40 minutes and answered questions for the remaining 20 minutes.