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Elkhart students hear inspirational speech from former NFL football player, astronaut

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ELKHART, Ind. — More than 3000 Elkhart students heard the inspirational story of Leland Melvin, a former football player turned astronaut, at the Lerner Theatre on Wednesday.

"Stories in the Stars" is part of a 2019 summer reading program presented by the Elkhart Public Library.

Leland Melvin, a former astronaut and Detroit Lions football player, shared his unbelievable story of reaching the stars at the downtown theatre. It was a story of determination and the power of second chances.

Melvin spent nearly 25 days in space aboard the Shuttle Atlantis, taking two trips to the International Space Station.

Students heard about Melvin’s days of playing football for the Detroit Lions, how he lost his hearing in one ear and eventually -- how he ended up on several space missions for NASA.

Melvin says he is a firm believer in melding science and the arts together.

“One of the things I think is most important as we go on the S.T.E.M journey as to include the arts and so I promote the future Martian bases so let’s be inclusive to all people and the creativity that comes from that,” said Melvin.

Children were able to ask questions and received a copy of one of Melvin’s books. Participants also had the chance to win prizes.

"Stories in the Stars", with support from the Welch Packaging Group, runs through July 18. The program, aims to improve the literacy skills of children through summer break.

Melvin’s visit was made possible through support from the Elkhart Education Foundation, Friends of the Elkhart Public Library, Inc. and the Community Foundation of Elkhart County.

 

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