Kiera, 16-year-old junior, was arrested after the incident, which happened outside about 15 minutes before the school day began. No one was hurt, nor did she cause any damage.Her headline-making nightmare hit one NASA veteran hard:
The school's resource officer arrested her on two possible felony charges, possessing a weapon on campus and discharging a destructive device. Kiera was suspended for 10 days, sent to an alternative school, which she still attends, and told she faced expulsion.
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.Hickam became determined to see Kiera Wilmot succeed:
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.
"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."Great news! But it gets even better:
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.Both Wilmot sisters are headed to the Space Academy! Sometimes good things really do happen to good people. Three cheers for Homer Hickam!