Two new public schools named for NASA astronauts will soon begin to rise along Pulaski Pike in northwest Huntsville.
The city school system held a standing-room-only groundbreaking ceremony Friday for the $65 million Jemison High School as well as McNair Junior High, which will share the same campus.
Decatur-born astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison flew in from Chicago for the ceremony and challenged the schools’ future students to make a difference in their city, their state, their world. Jemison became the first black woman in space when she flew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor in September 1992.
Children are born with an “innate energy and drive,” she said, but it can be dampened by adults.
“Adults started telling you what you couldn’t do,” Jemison told a group of students from the four schools that will feed into the new campuses: Johnson High, Butler High, Davis Hills Middle and Ed White Middle. “We started lowering your expectations of this world that was around you. Ignore them.
“Know that you can achieve so many things.”
“This is the prologue in what will be many, many pages and many, many chapters of exceptional history which will be written by the students of Jemison High School,” said Wardynski.
McNair Junior High is named for Ronald McNair, the second African-American in space and one of seven astronauts killed in the January 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.