New Jersey School to Be Renamed in Honor of Astronaut Twins Mark and Scott Kelly

A New Jersey elementary school will be renamed in honor of alumni astronaut brothers Mark and Scott Kelly.

The renaming ceremony at Pleasantdale Elementary School in West Orange will be held May 19, officials announced Wednesday. 

"It is not often that a community is able to recognize and honor native sons who both fit the definitions of 'Hero and Pioneer' in perpetuity so that generations to come will know where such accomplished individuals had their beginnings," said Board of Education President Laura Lab in a press release. 

"Those beginnings helped mold them into the adults they have grown to be and at the same time offer our current students role models who can literally guide our children so that they too can reach for the stars," she said. 

"Renaming the elementary school where it all began will personify how proud we are as a school district and community. The Kelly brothers’ achievements remind ourchildren of the importance of passion, hard work, and dedication. My hope is that many students are inspired byMark and Scott’s accomplishments," said West Orange Superintendent Jeffrey Rutzky.

Mark and Scott Kelly grew up in West Orange, and attended Pleasantdale Elementary School, Roosevelt Middle School and Mountain High School, from where they graduated in 1982. 

Mark Kelly visited Pleasantdale last October, and Scott Kelly videochatted with students while aboard the International Space Station in January. 

After high school, Mark Kelly received a bachelors degree in marine engineering and transportation from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, and Scott Kelly received a bachelor's degree in electrical engingeering from SUNY Maritime in Throggs Neck. 

They both became pilots in the U.S. Navy and graduated from the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School in Patxuent River, Maryland, according to the press release. Mark then received a master's in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and Scott received a master's in aviation systems from the University of Tennesseee, Knoxville. 

In 1996, the Kelly brothers began their astronaut training at NASA. 

Captain Mark Kelly, retired since 2011, is one of the country's most experienced pilots with 6,000 flight hours in more than 50 different aircraft, 375 aircraft carrier landings, 39 combat missions and more than 50 days in space.

Captain Scott Kelly, who recently announced he will retire on April 1, has logged over 8,000 flight hours in more than 40 different aircraft and spacecraft and has over 250 carrier landings. He just returned from 340 consecutive days on the International Space Station and now holds the American record for the longest unbroken stay in space. 

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