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Miss Freida J. Riley was a science and math teacher from Coalwood, West Virginia, who, for most of her career, taught while suffering from Hodgkin's Disease. Her impact upon her students is captured in the 1999 award-winning film October Sky, in which she is portrayed by Laura Dern. October Sky is based on the book The Rocket Boys, authored by one of Miss Riley's students, Homer Hickam. In the coal-mining town of Coalwood, Miss Riley inspired her students to overcome the limited opportunities of their era and environment to aspire to fulfill their dreams.

[More about the Rocket Boys]

[More about Homer Hickam]

 

The film inspired by Homer Hickam's book

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