A Smile as Big as the Moon: A Special Education Teacher, His Class, and Their Inspiring Journey Through U.S. Space Camp by Mike KersjesBesides being a football coach at his Michigan High School, Mike Kersjes taught special education classes, dealing with children whose disabilities included Tourette syndrome, Downs Syndrome, dyslexia, eating disorders and a variety of emotional problems.
One autumn Kersjes got the outlandish idea that his students would benefit from going to Space Camp, where, in conjunction with NASA, high school students compete in a variety of activities similar to those experienced by astronauts in training for space shuttle missions. There was only one problem: this program had been specifically designed for gifted and talented students, the best and the brightest from Americas most privileged high schools.
Kersjes believed that, given a chance, his kids could do as well as anybody, and with remarkable persistence broke down one barrier after another, from his own principals office to the inner sanctum of NASA, until Space Camp opened its doors, on an experimental basis, to special ed students. After nine months of rigorous preparation, during which the class molded itself into a working team, they arrived at Space Camp, where they turned in a performance so startling, so surprising, that it will leave the reader breathless. A truly triumphant story of the power of the human spirit.
A Smile as Big as the Moon
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If you're new here, I'd love for you to sign up for our posts by email so we can stay connected. Thanks for visiting! What were your thoughts on this movie? Being that Noah is only 13 months old I still get a little teary eyed seeing older children with Down syndrome …. I just do. I have a wild imagination, and sometimes I think of things I never want to hear Noah say.
In the latest episode of An Idiot Abroad , Karl Pilkington, on his way to receive some cosmonaut training during a tour of Russia, sums up the decline of the space program, as only Karl Pilkington can: "It's just something that was done years ago in the '60s. It was all about space race, wasn't it? People keen to go up there, but then it's just died out. To me, it's sort of like how everyone was going to Tellaro in the '80s. Everywhere has its day, know what I mean?
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