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Astronaut Christina Koch Visits OCS

Christina Koch signs a mural wall at WOHS

Onslow County Schools welcomed home astronaut Christina Koch on Thursday, as she returned to her roots, where her dreams of space first began.  

On April 25, NASA astronaut and Jacksonville-native Christina Koch made her way to Onslow County, where she visited Hunters Creek Middle School and White Oak High School, both schools she attended while living in the area. 

Koch gave an inspiring presentation at each school, detailing for students her adventures in space, including her involvement in the first all-female spacewalk, and answering student questions about her experiences.  

Koch speaks with students and HCMS Principal Chris Andre

She shared how her fascination with space started right here in Eastern North Carolina, where she would look up at the night sky through the pine trees in her backyard. She also credited Jacksonville with playing a role in her preparation for a career in space exploration and international collaboration.  

“I grew up around so many different people from all over the world, so many different languages, and so many different ways of being,” Koch said. “That was one of the coolest things I took with me from Jacksonville.”  

When a student at Hunters Creek Middle asked her about the process of becoming an astronaut, Koch recalled how, in some ways, the process started for her in that very building.  

“I was learning things that I brought to space with me here in this school,” she responded. “Especially, honestly, the things I was bad at. Learning to fail and get back up and not feel bad about it was probably one of the most important lessons I learned, and that definitely started here.” 

White Oak High School student Brianna Russell said, that as a girl potentially interested in a career in STEM, hearing from a hometown female astronaut was quite the experience.  

“It was really inspiring,” she shared. “I feel like, coming from such a small town, there is not much you think you can do, but seeing that she will be the first woman to go to the moon is pretty cool.” 

Koch’s parting advice for the students of Onslow County was to try new things and remember that they can achieve greatness.  

“Absolutely anything is possible,” she emphasized. “I hope to be an example of that for people. Really, achieving any dream that you have is about hard work, wanting to contribute, teamwork, and getting the most out of every opportunity that comes your way.” 

Next year, Astronaut Koch is set to embark on her next mission, Artemis II, during which she will become the first woman in history to orbit the moon. OCS wishes her all the best as she prepares for her next venture to space.