St. Joseph’s Academy students celebrate alumna going to space

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – The St. Joseph’s Academy student body is celebrating a former student the best way they know how — by sporting “space gear” to school.

Hayley Arceneaux is a 2010 graduate of St. Joseph’s Academy. At 29 years old, Arceneaux, a physician’s assistant at St. Jude, will be the youngest American to enter space. Her former assistant principal Stacia Andricain said it’s no coincidence she’ll be sitting on the seat representing hope.

“For her to want to go back to St. Jude and give back to the place that gave so much to her is just the epitome of who Hayley was here as a student,” said Principal Andricain.

Arceneaux will be one of four people on the SpaceX capsule which will launch off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The historic mission, called Inspiration4, will be the first crewed mission without a professional astronaut aboard. Its goal is to raise awareness and $200 million for St. Jude, which treats children from around the world at no cost to their families. 

St. Joseph’s Academy students arrived at school dressed in their best space gear, junior Catherine Burkhalter said today was about more than sporting their creativity.

“It’s a fun way to show Hayley that we’re supporting her even though we’re not with her right now to show her how much we care and how much we’re into it for her,” said Burkhalter.

Years after winning her fight with bone cancer, Arceneaux will be the first person with a prosthetic body part in space. Principal Andricain says she hopes this will inspire her students to be open to all life’s adventures that come their way.

“It makes me want to be in the STEM field now, it gives me inspiration for that,” said Burkhalter.

“It just makes me feel like I can do anything I want to do, girls supporting girls to do anything and break gender rules that society has placed on us,” said senior Camille Counce.

Principal Stacia Andricain said that Hayley Arceneaux plans on paying the girls a visit on campus after she completes her mission, a visit the students are very much looking forward to.  

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