When a beloved teacher is killed, his students figure out a way to pay tribute to him by sending him into space. A story of loss, mental illness, and an inspiring educator:
“For as long as Nae’Ana Aguon could remember, she wanted Mr. Meline as a teacher. Her older brother had been in Mr. Meline’s class years earlier, and she had visited the classroom, a classroom like no other at Spanaway’s Camas Prairie Elementary: telescopes, models of NASA shuttles, Star Trek posters, a mobile of the solar system. And every year Meline’s class built a comet—rocks, dirt, dry ice—then studied the comet with the intensity of a science team in a sci-fi film who’d discovered it in some exotic location.
“Mr. Meline didn’t disappoint when Nae’Ana reported to room 33 on the first day of school in early September 2012. He handed out a word search, a jumble of letters from which the students excavated NASA-related terminology. And then the launch: not of a rocket, but of the man.”