When Madeira Elementary School (MES) second-grade teacher Fran Wilson ran into the parents of one of her former students recently, she asked what he was doing. She wasn’t surprised to learn that her former pupil, Madeira High School (MHS) Class of 2014 alumnus Kevin Bradner, was an Engineering student completing an internship at NASA.
A visit to MES was set up for Kevin to talk to Fran’s current second-grade class, and a neighboring third grade class, about his job at NASA working with Quadcopter drones. “Kevin was a curious second grader who loved math, science, and research about space. I'm happy that he pursued his dreams to obtain this incredible opportunity at NASA,” Fran said. “I’m thrilled Kevin could come in to talk with my current class and inspire future careers in science.”
The MES students were well prepared for what they wanted to know from Kevin asking, “What do stars look like in space?”, “Are black holes real?”, and “How does our air not get mixed up with space air?” After responding to their questions, Kevin told the students what they needed to do to pursue a career in aeronautics. “It takes a lot of knowledge about science and math to send astronauts into space. Pay good attention in class and do science experiments.” The advice didn’t come too soon from someone who knew what he wanted to do when he was the age the current second graders are now. Fourteen years ago, Kevin and his classmates each wrote and illustrated their own book through the district’s Young Authors program. Kevin brought the book he wrote during the 2003-2004 school year to read to the class. The book gave a glimpse into Kevin’s future as the front of his book, How to Make Rock Candy, was covered with pictures of planets in the solar system.
Before leaving Kevin gave the students some words of wisdom about what they could do until they were ready to pursue their own careers. “There is a nice blanket of sky protecting us,” he told them. “Take good care of the earth so it stays there."
Fran Wilson, her current students, and Kevin Bradner with the book he wrote in second grade.