A New Jersey elementary school was officially renamed in honor of alumni astronaut brothers Mark and Scott Kelly in a ceremony Thursday.
The school, formerly Pleasantdale Elementary School in West Orange, was renamed Kelly Elementary at the ceremony, attended by the Mayor Robert Parisi, teachers and students and the Kelly brothers.
“As a community and as parents we are reminded of the truly unlimited possibilities that exist within the hallways of our schools for our children,” Parisi said. “Today, we thank the Kelly brothers for reminding our children to reach for their dreams.”
“We’re proud graduates of this school,” Mark Kelly said at the ceremony. “We are very proud to say we are from West Orange.”
His brother then thanked the community for the gesture.
“Thank you for this incredible honor, we won’t ever forget this,” Scott Kelly said. “You guys have a bright future in front of you. And because of what you’re going to do in that future, our country has a future.”
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 bachelor’s 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 engineering 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 his retirement 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 recently returned from 340 consecutive days on the International Space Station and now holds the American record for the longest unbroken stay in space.