[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1003]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




 IN HONOR OF JOSEPH ACABA, FIRST PUERTO RICAN EVER IN A NASA ASTRONAUT 
                                 CLASS

                                 ______
                                 

                        HON. ANIBAL ACEVEDO-VILA

                             of puerto rico

                    in the house of representatives

                        Wednesday, June 2, 2004

  Mr. ACEVEDO-VILA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Joseph 
Acaba, the first Puerto Rican ever in a NASA Astronaut class. Mr. 
Acaba, a mission specialist and educator in Dunnellon, Florida, was 
recently chosen as a member of the 2004 Class of Astronaut Candidates. 
He is one of three mission specialist-educators, selected from a field 
of more than 1,000 applicants, who will train with more than 100 
astronauts at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
  Joseph Acaba, 36, was born in Inglewood, California. His father Ralph 
was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, and his mother Elsie was born in San 
Juan, Puerto Rico.
  Mr. Acaba has been teaching math and science at Dunnellon Middle 
School since 2000. He has degrees from the University of California at 
Santa Barbara and the University of Arizona. He is a former Peace Corps 
volunteer in the Dominican Republic and also managed a research station 
in the Bahamas.
  Space travel has intrigued Joseph Acaba since childhood. His father 
would show young Joseph filmstrips he had saved of the first landing on 
the Moon. Now, Joseph Acaba is one step closer to being the first 
Puerto Rican in space or even the first ``Boricua en la Luna'' 
(``Puerto Rican on the Moon''), the title of a famous and beloved 
poem--later turned into a song--by Puerto Rican poet Juan Antonio 
Corretjer.
  Mr. Acaba has said that, besides family photos and hot tamales, he 
plans to bring the Puerto Rican flag into space. We hope to live to see 
the day when this happens. In the meantime, we are very proud to have 
in Joseph Acaba a young, talented and dedicated Puerto Rican who will 
continue to educate and inspire others through his hard work, his 
example, his commitment, and his pioneering spirit. How fitting that 
the first Puerto Rican space trainee is also a much-admired middle 
school teacher of science and math who has broadened his students' 
minds.
  I ask that you join me in honoring Joseph Acaba, the first Puerto 
Rican ever in a NASA Astronaut class.

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