High School Graduate Becomes NASA Scholar

At the age of 18 Justin Dailey of New London has already succeeded at many of his goals. He's been a volunteer firefighter for the past four years. But now Justin has a new goal. This one is could be taking him straight to the moon.

Justin Dailey has always dreamed of being an astronaut. During his senior year at New London high school his math teacher took notice and recommended him to become a NASA Scholar.

Justin was skeptical he'd make the cut. "I'd looked the packet over. I was thinking this is the cream of the crop. I doubt they're going to want somebody out from the middle of no where," says Justin.

He was wrong. But being accepted into the program didn't guarantee he'd become a NASA Scholar. He first had to complete rigorous studies.

"I thought I was going to sign up and be like okay, you're picked to come down here and do some stuff at NASA. No it's been on-line courses. I've been going to school during the day then I come home and do on-line courses until 10:00,11:00,12:00 o'clock at night.

But it paid off. Out of 20 east Texas kids accepted into the program Justin is the only one who completed all the tasks. In one week he's headed to NASA headquarters in Houston to actually design his own space shuttle.

"This is what I believe may be the first step in becoming an astronaut and actually being able to travel to the moon or to mars.

"I don't have any doubt that he can achieve anything he wants to achieve," says Justin's mom Darlene.

Darlene says she has always believed in her son.

"We're very proud of him. He's worked really, really hard and he' makes it fun."

Justin will go through the same training as astronauts during the week long NASA Scholar program. He plans to attend LeTourneau University in the fall.

Amy Tatum reporting.