FWISD ISD HAS MANY CONNECTIONS TO SPACE
Fort Worth, Texas – The Fort Worth Independent School District has had several connections to space and space exploration over the years. FWISD graduates have had prominent and “behind-the scenes” connections over several decades.
The most prominent graduate is, of course, Alan Bean. The Paschal High School graduate (1950) was the fourth person to walk on the moon, as part of the Apollo 12 mission which landed in November, 1969. The former Navy Captain late was mission commander for Skylab 3.
Other Fort Worth ISD grads who contributed to the space program include Major General Titus C. Hall and Marc Hairston.
Hall is a 1944 graduate of I.M. Terrell High School. He graduated from Tuskegee Institute and was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Air Force. After flying bombers in the Strategic Air Command he was assigned to the Space Systems Division as a satellite range instrumentation support officer. He commanded a satellite tracking station in remote Alaska and was eventually assigned as the executive officer of the Space and Missile Systems Organization, now the Air Force Space Division.
Dr. Marc Hairston is a 1975 graduate of Southwest High School who attended Rice and Duke Universities. He is a research scientist at the William B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences at The University of Texas at Dallas. His research interests include ionospheric physics: current topics include polar ionospheric convection, theta aurora, response times to changes in the IMF, scientific visualization of space science data, scientific education and public outreach.
Dr. Keith Byrd, a molecular biologist, teaches mathematics at Polytechnic High School. His connection to space is through marriage. His sister is married to Navy Commander Christopher Cassidy who is currently in space on the Shuttle Endeavor. Cassidy is a relative new comer to the space program who is marking a milestone for NASA. Cassidy is the 500th person in space. Dr. Byrd has invited Cassidy to visit Poly High School upon his return.
“Chris has a Wikipedia page and I’ve used the whiteboards to share that with my students,” said Dr. Byrd. “Space travel is all about math and I’ve been trying to make that connection with the students. Hopefully when Chris visits later this year he can help since he was a math major.”
Finally, actor Bill Paxton, a 1972 graduate of Arlington Heights High School, had a starring role in the movie drama Apollo 13. Paxton played astronaut Fred Haise alongside Tom Hanks (Jim Lovell) and Kevin Bacon (Jack Swigert). Paxton has been quoted as saying that when he was selected for the role that he and his wife “…danced all around the house.”