Florida teen Kiera Wilmot, 16, deserved some good news after being the target of a racist legal system, arrested and expelled for causing a small explosion during a science experiment. And she received it in the form of an unexpected scholarship to attend the United States Advanced Space Academy (ASA) from former NASA engineer Homer Hickam, reports the Black Youth Project.
As previously reported by NewsOne, on the morning of Monday, April 20, Kiera mixed some household chemicals inside of an 8 oz. bottle of water. The top flew off the bottle and a cloud of smoke erupted.
There was no damage caused and no one was injured, but Kiera was led away in handcuffs and faced possible charges of “possession/discharge of a weapon on school grounds and discharging a destructive device.”
“She made a bad choice. Honestly, I don’t think she meant to ever hurt anyone,” principal Ron Pritchard told WTSP. “She wanted to see what would happen [when the chemicals mixed] and was shocked by what it did. Her mother is shocked, too.”
Kiera was expelled, served a 10-day suspension and will have to complete her diploma in an expulsion program.
Watch Kiera’s case here:
Hickam, whose memoir, Rocket Boys, was turned into a feature film called October Sky, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, had a similar experience to Kiera.
One scene in the film reenacts him being led away from his high school in handcuffs after experimenting with a rocket.
“I think she will feel right at home [at ASA],” Hickam says, “because she will be with other students just like her who are intensely interested in science and space.”