An astronaut visited West Chester earlier this month and talked to youngsters from three schools about the past, present, and future of America's space program.

Marsha S. Ivins led two PowerPoint presentations on May 9 at

West Chester Friends School

's meeting house, one that was open to the public and another exclusively for students from

West Chester Friends

,

Goshen Friends School

, and

Chester County Family Academy

, a West Chester charter school.

Ivins, 57, has spent more than 1,300 hours in space over five missions, her last a 13-day jaunt to the International Space Station on the space shuttle Atlantis in 2001.

The former Wallingford resident talked about NASA's history, the often-overlooked details of life in space (Velcro is important; one must be strapped in to eat and sleep) and the program's hopes for future Mars missions.

Avon Grove Intermediate School

continued its yearlong celebration of poetry last week with a visit from children's author and poet J. Patrick Lewis.

Lewis visited the school last Wednesday and Thursday as part of Poetry Palooza, an AGIS Parent-Teacher Association-sponsored series of workshops, readings, and other verse-inspired events. The author of dozens of children's books and poetry collections, Lewis led poetry readings and writing workshops at AGIS.

For more information on Lewis, visit jpatricklewis.com.

- Will Hobson