Jones shared a book that his grandmother had given him about space when he was a young child. He told students the book sparked his interest in space and turned into his dream of being an astronaut. When Jones was growing up, astronauts had to be pilots. Therefore, he attended the Air Force Academy and flew B-52’s for the military after graduation. During that time, Jones learned NASA wanted astronauts with backgrounds in science or engineering. Determined to reach his goal, he enrolled in a doctoral program in planetary sciences.
Upon completion of his doctoral degree five years later, Jones began applying to be an astronaut. He was declined twice before being accepted. Jones stressed the importance of setting goals, having dreams and never giving up if at first you do not succeed.
Jones showed a video from his fourth space flight on the space shuttle Atlantis in 2001. The mission was to attach the United States Laboratory Destiny onto the International Space Station (ISS). Jones was one of only two crew members to walk in space to help attach the lab to the space station.
Students enjoyed seeing Jones (in his stars-and-stripes socks) doing acrobatics on the shuttle and working with Russian astronauts.
Jones gave the children homework. He told them to watch for the ISS in the sky that evening. In the event of clouds, he told the children to go to http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/sightings/ in order to figure out when the ISS would be visible in our area.