NASA graduate inspires Long Island students at her elementary school

BALDWIN, Long Island (WABC) -- Fifth-grade students at an elementary school on Long Island had the opportunity Friday to speak with one of NASA's newest astronauts, who graduated from the same school in the 1990s.

Jasmin Moghbeli, who attended Lenox Elementary School in Baldwin, graduated from the NASA space program Friday.

Students watched a live stream of the graduation from the Johnson Space Center in Houston and then did a Google chat with Moghbeli, during which they were able to ask her questions.

"To have Jasmin here as a representative of what they can accomplish is absolutely phenomenal," principal Asheena Baez said.

Moghbeli told the students that she first dreamed of becoming an astronaut when she was at Lenox and even wrote a book report about another female astronaut and donned a space suit to present the report to her class.

"She proves that if you follow your dreams and you believe in what you want to be when you grow up, you can be it," student Samory Fecu said.

Moghbeli is part of the first group of astronauts to graduate under NASA's Artemis program, which aims to land the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2024.

Moghbeli -- a major in the U.S. Marine Corps and a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- was chosen from a record-setting pool of more than 18,000 applicants to participate in the NASA training program.

"After completing more than two years of basic training, these candidates will become eligible for spaceflight, including assignments to the International Space Station, Artemis missions to the moon, and ultimately, missions to Mars," NASA officials said in a statement.

Moghbeli told the students not to be scared of failure.

"If you challenge yourself to do something that is difficult, 100%, at some point and probably at many points, you are going to fail," she said. "And the key thing is not to just take that failure and say, 'OK, I'm done, I can't do this.' You need to push through that."

One student asked Moghebli who has been her biggest supporter.

"My parents not only set an example for me of what's possible, but have also always believed in me and what I could do," she said.

Moghbeli promised the students she would visit them in person, prompting the kids to burst into applause.

"You're an inspiration to every young person, every adult because you represent what's possible," Superintendent Shari Camhi told her.

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