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Old 05-22-2013, 08:51 PM   #1
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16-year old girl expelled for sciencing too hard, NASA vet sends her to space camp

I raged when I heard about this girl that was expelled from school and facing criminal charges because she was conducting a science experiment at school and caused an "explosion" (the bottom cap popped off and it made a noise) that caused no damage but she was expelled for being a turrerist! 'MURICA!

Charges have since been dropped but she remains expelled.

So this NASA engineer sees all this and raises money to send the girl, and her twin, to space camp.

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Kiera Wilmot is going to space camp.

In late April, the 16-year-old central Florida honor student was accused of igniting a chemical explosion on school grounds, leading to her arrest and suspension from school, but authorities dropped criminal charges last week.

The nightmarish ordeal was shocking for her single mother, Marie Wilmot, who always encouraged Kiera and her twin sister, Kayla, to follow their passions.

"The initial phone call was terrifying," Marie told ABC News. "Time will help I hope, it was devastating for me as a mother."

While school officials debate whether Kiera will return to Bartow High School, the Wilmot family received an unexpected surprise.

The explosion struck a chord with 18-year NASA veteran Homer Hickam, a former lead astronaut training manager for Spacelab, and later for the International Space Station.

In the late 1950s, Hickam had a brush with law enforcement for allegedly starting a forest fire. State police came to his high school and led him and his friends away in handcuffs, but his high school physics professor and school principal came to the rescue, clearing him of wrongdoing.

Back then, schools did not have zero tolerance rules. Kids could make their mistakes without the threat of a criminal record, or serving time in jail.

"I couldn't let this go without doing something," Hickam said. "I'm not a lawyer, but I could give her something that would encourage her. I've worked closely with the U.S. Space Academy, and so I purchased a scholarship for her."

Learning of her twin sister, Hickam raised enough money so Kiera and Kayla could attend space camp together. Hickam runs several scholarships for kids with potential, and hopes to create an ongoing Space Academy scholarship. The twins will attend in July.

The five-night program immerses students in science, technology, and math education, while giving them hands-on training, learning about the mental, emotional and physical demands astronauts, engineers and technologists face, according to its website.

"I'm really excited about going," Kiera said. "Especially the zero gravity tank, I've always wanted to do that."

The United States Advanced Space Academy is a college-accredited program offered through the University of Alabama-Huntsville, and students receive one hour of freshman level general science credit upon completion.

"You're not just sitting in a classroom hearing about it, you're on the floor, in spacecraft simulators, experiencing zero gravity," Hickam said. "They run through real space missions, like voyages to the moon or Mars, where they are given problems they must solve."

Now an author, Hickam's works include his famous memoir "Rocket Boys," later adapted into the film "October Sky," starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

Eager to move forward, the twins couldn't be happier with the opportunity, which could serve as a prelude to college, and eventual careers. They both credit their eighth grade robotics teacher with sparking their interest in science, technology and math courses.

"I like to program and build robots, it's challenging and you have to build them a certain way," Kiera said. "I'd like to be careful with the science I do, always remember to follow directions, and be aware of peer pressure."

Their mother, Marie, will be joining the girls in Huntsville, taking the time to relax and reflect while her daughters explore the many facets of the program.

At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon at the Vision Center of Word Alive Ministries in Lakeland, Fla., the Wilmot family and their attorney Larry D. Hardaway, took questions from the media and remained hopeful that Kiera will be reinstated at Bartow High School.

"The way people have reached out, I wasn't expecting this kind of response," Marie said. "It is a blessing."
Cleared of Charges, Honor Student Goes to Space Camp - ABC News

It's stuff like this that shows that some people in the US are still sane.
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:32 PM   #2
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I thought school was all about learning, and the last time I checked, we learn the most important lessons from real life failure, not desk bound books.

She didn't set off a hydrogen bomb for god's sake, expelling her for actually showing the willingness to LEARN is fucking pitiful. I learned more about real science in the auto shop than in science class, that's pretty sad.
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:49 PM   #3
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The explosion struck a chord with 18-year NASA veteran Homer Hickam, a former lead astronaut training manager for Spacelab, and later for the International Space Station.

In the late 1950s, Hickam had a brush with law enforcement for allegedly starting a forest fire. State police came to his high school and led him and his friends away in handcuffs, but his high school physics professor and school principal came to the rescue, clearing him of wrongdoing.
If this sounds familiar, it's because they made a movie about it:


Really good movie, too, if you're a science geek.
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:00 AM   #4
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In before the nra promotes banning science in favour of guns class.
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:01 AM   #5
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:42 AM   #6
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Scientist, Zionist...
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:49 AM   #7
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I thought school was all about learning
Sadly I think this is one of the biggest misconceptions people have.

Props to the girl and astronaut!
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:28 AM   #8
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school is about creating sheeple.
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:42 AM   #9
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October Sky is a great movie.

I'm really getting fed up with BS like this. It's like kids can't be kids anymore and are not allowed to explore and have a mind of their own. It's really sad what society will be like in 50 years from now with everyone being like robots not being able to express them selves and their ideas.
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Old 05-24-2013, 12:31 PM   #10
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seems like school tries to make science as boring as possible and when someone knows enough stuff to do something that's the least bit interesting, they get expelled.
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Old 05-24-2013, 03:30 PM   #11
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seems like school tries to make science as boring as possible and when someone knows enough stuff to do something that's the least bit interesting, they get expelled.
That's exactly what they're doing, they could easily spark interest in science among kids if they included something as basic as (model) rocketry to a class. There's nothing like seeing something you built from scratch fly 1000ft in the air and safely recovering it.

Instead, the most exciting thing we did was witness an odd colored flame.
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Old 05-24-2013, 03:44 PM   #12
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I loved my science classes in high school. We got to play with thermite (admittedly outside on the gravel field), we shot fuel-powered rockets hundreds of feet into the air, we did some Mythbuster-style testing at the next-door gun range for creating bullet proof items, and we dissected a bunch of weird ass shit.

If this is the route that schools are going nowadays, I'm glad I got my ass out of HS when I did. I feel bad for my kids when they're of age...
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Old 05-24-2013, 03:45 PM   #13
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I remember stealing a big bottle of calcium metal in school and use to mix it with water and put caps on a bottle to make it explode like a hydrogen bomb. Shit was tons of fun back in the day and so happy I didnt hurt myself.
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Old 05-24-2013, 04:01 PM   #14
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We played with the solid-fuel model rockets in Jr. High. Set a window frame on fire igniting one of the engines in the classroom
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Old 05-24-2013, 06:47 PM   #15
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:45 PM   #16
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I loved my science classes in high school. We got to play with thermite (admittedly outside on the gravel field), we shot fuel-powered rockets hundreds of feet into the air, we did some Mythbuster-style testing at the next-door gun range for creating bullet proof items, and we dissected a bunch of weird ass shit.

If this is the route that schools are going nowadays, I'm glad I got my ass out of HS when I did. I feel bad for my kids when they're of age...
This may be happening to college courses too. I took Chem 1118 at Langara (Intermediate Chemistry, basically a step under General Chemistry) and we spent more time making sure our lab reports were immaculate than seeing cool shit.
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:47 PM   #17
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Learned how to make a still in grade 8 and in grade 9 the teacher made some touch powder and let a student set it off in class. One teacher use to drink here own pee after consuming nothing but water for 12 plus hours.
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Old 05-24-2013, 09:49 PM   #18
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That's a typical problem with public education.. It functions to educate the majority of people.. there will always be outliers, that don't quite fit. Some teachers I encountered (thankfully not during my schooling), are so afraid of doing things outside their comfort zone (science).. it is atrocious.

It is nice to see in this case, the outlier has been identified and hopefully will get special training from now on to shine. I hate to see any potential wasted.. sometimes a special teacher / educator will take special interest in kids like this.. but most of them just don't.
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:44 PM   #19
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This may be happening to college courses too. I took Chem 1118 at Langara (Intermediate Chemistry, basically a step under General Chemistry) and we spent more time making sure our lab reports were immaculate than seeing cool shit.
had to deal with that at sfu also; such a pain. doubt anyone in the class was actually there to become a lab coat scientist.
save the perfect reports for people going for masters and phds
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:41 AM   #20
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I loved my science classes in high school. We got to play with thermite (admittedly outside on the gravel field), we shot fuel-powered rockets hundreds of feet into the air, we did some Mythbuster-style testing at the next-door gun range for creating bullet proof items, and we dissected a bunch of weird ass shit.

If this is the route that schools are going nowadays, I'm glad I got my ass out of HS when I did. I feel bad for my kids when they're of age...
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We played with the solid-fuel model rockets in Jr. High. Set a window frame on fire igniting one of the engines in the classroom

I graduated in 2000 and I already missed the boat on these type of Science classes.

In my time, science classes were just memorizing the table of elements, and other textbook lessons etc. The most hands on thing we did was learning to test for acids & bases. Suffice to say, I retained almost nothing from those text book lessons dating from more than 13 years ago.
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:52 PM   #21
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Its things like this that make you realize the "terrorists" have already won.
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:58 PM   #22
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I am not sure... I rather have people who are ignorant but willing to learn, than people who thinks they know everything and impose those often faulty view on others.

There will be people who don't know things in this world.. despite having Internet as the second brain.

Science is about critical thinking.. which is an art unto itself.

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Its things like this that make you realize the "terrorists" have already won.
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:19 AM   #23
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How do we know the views being imposed on our children arent faulty?
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:34 AM   #24
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Maybe it's just me, but that school/teacher were bigots. Colored person makes thing goes b00m. Total Terrorist.
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