Former NASA astronaut visits Pasco middle school - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Former NASA astronaut visits Pasco middle school

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PASCO, Wash.-- A former NASA astronaut stopped by her namesake middle school in Pasco Tuesday.

Dr. Ellen Ochoa spent all day with students at Ochoa Middle School. She made classroom visits, ate lunch with a group of students and spoke at an all school assembly.

Dr. Ochoa is the first Hispanic female astronaut and has spent nearly one thousand hours in space.

She says she hopes to encourage kids to see how important education is to their future.

"Education has been so important to me in my career. It's really what led to my selection as an astronaut and my ability to have this career. So if there's anything I can say when I come to the school that will help students think about that, I like to do that," says Ochoa.

This is Dr. Ochoa's third visit to the school, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.