Two Coloradans are in NASA's new class of 12 aspiring astronauts, and Next caught up with the former teacher of one of them.

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Matthew Dominick went to school at D'Evelyn in the Jefferson County school district and graduated in 2000. Super proud physics teacher Briant McKellips was more than willing to sing his praises to Next.

“He was smart as a whip, he was kind of one of those kids that kept you on your toes,” he said.

Dominick understood McKellips’ philosophy that physics could be fun. McKellips is aware that not all students will share this sentiment, but it’s what he strives to instill.

McKellips wasn’t surprised that Dominick was chosen as one of those who may become an astronaut, knowing that he was the kind of person who could make that relatively unrealistic dream a reality.

“He was the kind of go-getter that was going to make that kind of thing happen,” he said.

He also said that it is that type of news that keeps him motivated.

“My wife calls them pay days when you get some kind of a note from a kid,” he said.

The other Coloradan accepted as a spaceflight trainee is Jessica Watkins from Lafayette. Watkins went to Fairview High School in Boulder and is a postdoctoral fellow at CalTech (and Next would be more than happy to talk with any proud teachers of hers).

Both Watkins and Dominick will report for duty in August.