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CHS Graduate Pilots Flight to Outer Space


Camas High School (CHS) graduate Michael Barratt has recently launched into space as the pilot of the Crew-8 mission to the International Space Station. This is a thrilling experience for CHS students as there is a less than 2 percent chance of having an astronaut formerly attend a given school, let alone go into space while being in school yourself. The CHS science teachers, Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) and ASB have been working hard to promote this extraordinary event and bring it to CHS students’ attention. 

Michael Barratt was born in 1959 in Vancouver, Wash. but grew up mostly on a farm in Camas. As a result of being raised in the area, Barratt developed an interest in astronomy and other scientific hobbies. This interest grew as he got to high school at CHS where he made telescopes and would watch the stars with them. After graduating from CHS in 1977, Barratt attended the University of Washington before getting his doctor of medicine degree from Northwestern University. He then worked as a NASA flight surgeon for nine years and eventually made his way into the NASA Astronaut Corps in 2000. Prior to this mission, Barratt has been in space two times, acquiring a total of 212 days in space while also performing two spacewalks. 

Michael Barratt, Photo Courtesy NASA

Not only is this event celebrated because Barratt attended CHS, but it may also demonstrate to students the feasibility of achieving large goals.

“It is nice for students to think about and see. I think that it is good for students to know that it is possible,” CHS associate principal Owen Sanford said. 

As part of the admin’s hope of spreading the news to students, a video about Barratt was released during the advisory period on March 8. 

Space is increasing in prevalence in students’ lives as time goes on. 

“It is a preview of a growing field,” CHS sophomore biology teacher Cory Marshall said. “It is not going up in interest, but in relevance to our everyday lives.” 

Succeeding the Space Race in the late 1960s, there has been a lack of interest in space exploration, especially following the Challenger

explosion in 1986. However, in the last several years private corporations like those of entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have completely changed the way we think about space exploration. The success of corporations such as SpaceX or Blue Origin increases the likelihood of space exploration becoming an occupation that will be more accessible. 

Space-themed decorations around the main entrance of CHS

Marshall and the other CHS science teachers have been working together to help expose students to this rare experience. ASB and DECA students have also made valiant efforts to promote Barratt’s mission and bring awareness to students. 

“This is such an amazing opportunity for our school because it isn’t every day that you see graduates going to space,” CHS sophomore DECA and ASB member Emily Parker said. 

Both groups created new drinks and JoeYo flavors at the CHS LunchBox while also spreading the word via social media.

“I think it’s cool. I think it’s [amazing] that someone from our school is doing that,” CHS freshman Addie Turnage said.

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Sydney Malarkey, Staff Writer

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