Chalmette, LA - Chalmette High School had a very special guest on campus recently — a flight director for NASA. Lieutenant Colonel Paul Konyha, USAF retired, visited cadets in the school’s JROTC program, and made a special presentation to students in the Cultural Arts Center sharing some of the history, accomplishments, and vision for the space program.
Using an array of video clips, renderings, and spectacular images, Konyha offered insight into NASA’s Artemis Missions which includes a return to the moon in preparation for its ultimate goal — a human mission to Mars.
The presentation also focused on the research, preparation, and teamwork inherent in any operation of such importance. Konyha said as a flight director his job centers on problem solving and decision making with two goals in mind — protecting the crew and the spacecraft while accomplishing the mission.
Konyha’s visit was coordinated by his dear friend Lt. Col. David Farley, who leads the JROTC program at CHS. The two served together at the Vandenberg Air Force Base California during their initial space operations training in 1996.
Konyha said his team name is Excelsior, the Latin word meaning “higher and higher,” “ever upward.”
Chalmette High Principal Wayne Warner said he appreciated the visit. “Lieutenant Colonel Konyha’s presentation was impressive and eye opening,” he said. “I think our students got a lot out of it and left feeling inspired.”