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Homer Hickam, Jr. Interviewed at SCIVIS Graduation 1999

Homer Hickman and Dan Oates at SCIVIS '99Play Google Video  | Homer Hickam, Jr. Transcript of video

Homer H. Hickam, Jr. grew up in Coalwood, West Virginia. He is the author of the book Rocket Boys about building rockets in the late 1950's. The book was made into the movie October Sky. Download Rocket Boys in braille.

A Report from a Teacher

Dear Dan,

Thank you for inviting our state to participate in Space Camp in Huntsville. My two students had a fabulous time. I wanted to share with you Jose's experience when he returned from Space Camp.

The campus has been a buzz since we returned. Jose gave a speech to his class and completely shocked his teacher Ms. Lee. Ms. Lee came to me in utter amazement about the speech Jose had just delivered to his class on his Space Camp experience. The shock and amazement did not come from the adventures Jose told of, but from the quality of speech Jose gave.

I had never seen Ms. Lee so moved before. Ms. Lee is a well respected and professional teacher who rarely shows emotion at school. When she came to me she was bursting with excitement over Jose's speech, and expressed how surprised she was. She was grinning from ear to ear (this is not something I have seen before in my six years at my school).

I invited Jose to give a speech at the Parents and Friends Association meeting the following day. In attendance were the Parent's and Friends Board Members, Principals, Superintendent, and Director of the State Special Schools. I happened to be at the meeting, and was in clear shock as well. Jose's articulated speech could not have been better performed. He organized his thoughts well, and presented a very thorough 15 minute speech on the week's adventures. He made a display board of the pictures he took and typed out passages. He even wore his flight suit he had purchased for just such occasions.

The DIS Principal, Speech Teacher, and Classroom Teacher have all mentioned to me their amazement at Jose's spectacular ability. Apparently, no one was aware of Jose's capability, and it is clear that Space Camp has motivated him to excel. Jose has expressed interest in math and science and wants to continue speaking to staff and students on the importance of Space Camp.

I sincerely believe that Space Camp has motivated both students in their academic careers. This program has made a difference in their lives and I look forward to exposing more students to this experience.

Dan, without your efforts Space Camp would not be so successful and accessible for students with visual impairments. And I know, that with out meeting you last spring, Jose would not have had this opportunity to excel and prove his abilities to his educators. So, thank you once more for involving our state in your wonderful program.