Al Worden visit’s St. Aidan’s

In early October we were very lucky here in St. Aidan’s as Space Astronaut Al Worden came to visit the children and he told them all about his trip to the moon. The children and teachers we very excited about meeting Al and they really enjoyed his visit.

The following report about Al Worden’s visit is from the Clare Courier:

Forty five years after his historic flight to the moon on board Apollo 15, astronaut Al Worden visited St Aiden’s NS in Shannon. Colonel Worden was one of three crew on board the Apollo 15 lunar mission in 1971.

Accompanying him was Limerick native Cyril Bennis who has spent over €70,000 on his personal mission to be the first Irishman in space. The former Lord Mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon, is expected to be among the first space tourists and is seventh on the list of people who want to go into space.

Col. Worden had some encouraging words for the youngsters, telling them that they will probably be old enough when they finish college to go to Mars as he believes there will be a manned mission to the Red Planet during the next 20 years. “Somebody in this room could be among those to go to Mars. That would be a lot of fun but it’s a long, tough road to get there. It’s going to take a lot of study all the way through school so do the best you can,” he said.

Of course not everyone will be lucky enough to become an astronaut but Al had wise words for today’s generation, “Whatever you study just do something that you love, because if you love to do something, then you’re going to do much better at that in school”.

Al told about his own journey to the dark side of the moon that started when he was one of the first to enter the US space programme where he became friends with the first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong, as well as Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins who flew with him on Apollo 11.

In his contribution, Cyril Bennis recalled his own background as a Limerick schoolboy 50 years ago when he was inspired by astronaut John Glenn visiting his school, Christian Brothers in Sexton Street.

Cyril told the kids, “I’m living a dream. I dreamed all these years that one day I would be able to go into space. It’s a great thanks to Col Worden and all his colleagues who have done so much for us to fulfil our dreams”. He added, “If there’s anything you can take away today, it’s that nothing is impossible in life, that you too can have a dream and be able to fulfil it along the way.”

Pupils sang songs, recited poetry and presented gifts to Colonel Al Worden. One young lad, Gavin, presented a hurley and sliotar. Later John Conlon, who won an All Ireland medal with Clare in 2013 and is a teacher at St Aidan’s, signed the hurley as did Col Worden before generously returning it to the school where it will take pride of place as a reminder of this unique visit.

St Aidan’s principal, Patrice Hayes expressed her thanks to Al Worden and Cyril Bennis for sharing their experiences. Finally the pupils of St Aidan’s sent Al Worden on his way with a rousing rendering of “With a Little Help from My Friends” by the Beatle.