Watch ABC tonight for the heartwarming “A Smile as Big as the Moon,” with John Corbett as a teacher who brings his special needs students to space camp. It is based on the real life story of Mike Kersjes, whose book about his experience is A Smile as Big as the Moon: A Special Education Teacher, His Class, and Their Inspiring Journey Through U.S. Space Camp. He proved that for students facing Tourette’s syndrome, Down’s syndrome, dyslexia, eating disorders, and a variety of emotional problems, the rigors of astronaut training were just another challenge. Kersjes teaches special needs students in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He focuses on helping his students recognize their strengths. An article in Scholastic Scope magazine about the Space Camp for gifted and talented students inspired him to begin what has evolved into a non-profit called Space is Special.
Kersjes says, “I believe in teaching kids to challenge themselves, to question the labels that had been thrust upon them.”