High school honors astronaut alum

Glenbard East High School welcomed Tani on Tuesday. He's no stranger to the Lombard school, his alma mater. Tani shared his journey with the students and encouraged them to go after their dreams -- gradually and with patience and focus. "I tried to think of what I was like when I was 16 or 17. And if there were any words that would have helped at that point. And I'm not sure there are. But, you know, us older folks try to think we can influence kids and maybe we can. Maybe a couple of people. I hope so," said Dan Tani, astronaut

Tani humbly shared that his journey included some challenges, but he learned from those tough times. The most difficult challenge recently was losing his mother.

Rose Tani was killed in an accident when Tani was still in space.

Today the school named a lilac garden in Tani's name for his accomplishments and in memory of his mother.

"Very touched. It's really nice if they're going to plant a garden and it's exactly what -- the way my mom would have wanted it. So it's perfect. I'm very touched," said Tani.

"When you have somebody who goes off and accomplishes so much, it just makes things very special," said Jim Carter, Glenbard East H.S.

"He came from these very halls and sitting in these exact same places. It lets us know that we can accomplish anything we want to," said Aliya Bagewadi, student

"Having someone from your same high school showing you what he's become and the achievements, it gives the inspiration and wants me to become something and gives me the hope and the passion, like, I know I can do something now," said Eamon Conter, student.

Copyright © 2024 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.