Drew Trafton, Forum News Service, Published October 23 2013
Henning grad revisits school - from spaceHENNING, Minn. - It's not unusual for former students to give back to their schools.
But one Henning School grad went the extra mile, or in this case, 250 miles above Earth to inspire students.
The students of Henning School were absolutely drawn in by their guest Wednesday, which is pretty impressive considering the speaker wasn't in the school. Or in Henning. Or the state of Minnesota.
Or even planet Earth.
As part of NASA's In Flight Education Program, Henning graduate Karen Nyberg got to speak from the International Space Station.
"Henning, Minnesota, I hear you loud and clear," the astronaut said through the Johnson Space Center to a packed gym full of students and community members -- the same gym where she graduated from high school 25 years ago with a dream.
On Wednesday, Nyberg fielded questions from other dreamers.
"Are shooting stars prettier out in space than on Earth?" asked student Jenna Volkmann.
"I really think it's cool that once there was Karen Nyberg walking through these hallways, maybe in the same exact room that I'm in," said fifth-grader Ethan Houselog.
For 20 minutes, students learned about life on the space station and the amount of work Nyberg put in to make two trips into space. Her six-month mission on the space station ends Nov. 11.
Nyberg, also a University of North Dakota alumna, credited her success to Henning teachers such as Marjorie Quammen, who still teaches English at the school.
"I don't think she has to be floating in space to be successful, but it certainly is important for us in the community of, a small community like Henning, to see that a small school student can make it to the stars just like anyone else," Quammen said.
Even for students who have different professional aspirations, that message seemed to have come across loud and clear.
Said student Amanda Otto, “I think it's more inspiring to make you do your best.”