VIDEO: Passion for Action Gala With NASA Astronaut Douglas Wheelock

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Wheelock College hosted its 2014 Passion for Action Scholarship gala, raising scholarship funds for outstanding students who have demonstrated persistent leadership by creating change in their communities through service. President Jackie Jenkins-Scott praised the student scholars as committed “passionaries” whose work is inspiring and impacting the world. The current PFAS scholars’ passions include advocating for victims of severe trauma, equal access to quality education, arts education for urban children, and racial equality. In this video, they talk about their passions and their plans for the future.

The featured speaker at the gala was NASA Astronaut Col. Douglas Wheelock, who said he was an ordinary kid from a small town when American’s first landed on the moon. “I watched people landing on the moon and thought ‘wow, that is really amazing.'” He said he was inspired by a teacher who taught his class about the space program and told them that one day they might be astronauts too. During training, Col. Wheelock said he was sitting with Neil Armstrong and asked Armstrong if he was able to contemplate the enormity of what was happening when he was on the moon. Wheelock said the response was, ‘No, I was just an ordinary kid from an ordinary place.’ “When he shared that story with me, it made me realize that’s all of our story,” Col. Wheelock said.

Col. Douglas Wheelock praised the PFAS scholars and teachers everywhere, saying that every astronaut can point to a teacher in their lives that made the ordinary in them come alive and seem extraordinary. “Live your life with so much passion that people can’t take their eyes off of you,” he said.

The undergraduate Passion for Action scholarship provides a $20,000 annual award toward Wheelock College tuition. Held on Veteran’s Day, the 2014 event took place on Wheelock’s Brookline Campus in the Ted Ladd room, named for longtime Wheelock trustee Ted Ladd.

Learn more about the Passion for Action Scholarship Program at wheelock.edu/pfas.