From Shepherd Hill to NASA Mission Control

Kochling speaks at dinner for local scholars

By Barbara Marderosian
Special to The Citizen Chronicle

DUDLEY — Last Thursday night, former Charlton resident, Christopher Kochling, a 2012 graduate of Shepherd Hill Regional High School, delivered a convocation to over 130 first honors students and their families.

Kochling, who holds a B.S. in aerospace engineering, is currently employed as an attitude determination and control officer (ADCO) in support of the International Space Station operations at NASA. Kochling presented photos taken from the International Space Station while he shared not only what his job entails but how he came to be interviewed at NASA Mission Control. He was certain that he would never hear back from NASA. In fact, his original objective was to become a pilot. However, he noted to the audience that “it always seems to be the little things that initially go unnoticed that ending up changing the course of your life.”

In addition to the photographs, Kochling shared his advice to students. “While (your) path may change, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something or that you won’t reach you goals,” he said. “In the end, everything is up to you.”

Kochling also thanked Shepherd Hill teachers and noted the importance of dealing more kindly with others as we are all together on this “tiny blue dot (Earth).” He was met with a standing ovation from the crowd.

The First Honors Recognition Dinner is an event organized by faculty that was first started 30 years ago under then principal Al Thibadeau to honor the academic performance of students who maintain first honors (92+) for all four quarters from the preceding year. It is supported by the Quo Vadis Club, the Shepherd Hill Regional High School Booster Club, Balfour Ring, and Sitkowski and Malboeuf Funeral Home. Historically, the event was chaired by Thompson Boyd, now retired. This year, the event was organized by Tracy LeBlanc and Mr. Boyd, last year’s teachers of excellence, and the middle school National Junior Honor Society presidents were also invited to attend as guests.

Other keynote speakers included Principal William Chaplin, Superintendent Kristine Nash, and School Committee chair Pauline Aucoin. After a turkey dinner, students were presented with gifts to acknowledge their scholarship.


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