Dr. Don Thomas' dreams of becoming an astronaut started at age six. He tells Channel 3 his journey to space was a long one but worth it.

"I worked towards that goal my whole life. When I got out of college I started applying to NASA, and the first time I applied to NASA, even though I met all the requirements, they turned me down," says Dr. Thomas.

After three times and ready to give up, his perseverance paid off. By the 90s he flew in four space shuttles, orbiting Earth nearly 700 times.

Teachers at Collegedale Academy say there will be a larger need for good paying jobs in computer science and programming and our young generation should be given the opportunity and equipped for competition.

Science teacher Stan Beasley says, "Especially with minorities and women, it is very underrepresented."

As students gathered to listen to Thomas speak, senior Mia Ford tells Channel 3, she's interested in the science field but understands there's still change to be had.

"I think that's true, I think women and minorities are underrepresented, and that should change," says senior Mia Ford.

Ford says she hopes in the future, everyone will be given an equal chance to do what they are really passionate about.

Dr. Thomas says the middle schoolers and high schoolers he spoke today will be the generation that travels to Mars, tomorrow.

Today was the first ever Pi Day event held at Collegedale Academy.

Have a weather-related story idea? Feel free to email Meteorologist Brittany Beggs.