POLITICS

Forget High School; Ahmed Can Take His Clock To Space Camp

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center would be happy to have him, if he accepts.

Ahmed Mohamed doesn't need high school to work on his science projects -- he can do that at Space Camp.

The 14-year-old Muslim boy was handcuffed and suspended Monday after teachers at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, thought the homemade clock he brought to school was a hoax bomb.

"I built the clock to impress my teacher, but when I showed it to her, she thought it was a threat to her," Ahmed said Wednesday. "It was really sad that she took the wrong impression from it and I got arrested for it later that day."

Since then, President Barack Obama, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and thousands of supporters have jumped to Ahmed's aid. And now, he may receive a scholarship to attend U.S. Space Camp in Alabama, where he'll join other would-be astronauts, engineers and technologists for some hands-on space training.

A spokesperson at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center confirmed Thursday that the creators of "Rocket Boys The Musical" plan to designate a scholarship for Ahmed.

Musical co-writer Carl Tramon -- whose play is based on the book Rocket Boys, which was later adapted into the movie "October Sky” -- said he wanted to get a Space Camp scholarship for Ahmed as soon as he saw a photo of the boy wearing a NASA T-shirt when he was arrested Monday.

"We all saw that spark of inspiration, of having a dream, of making yourself better than what you’re told you can be,” Tramon said. “We said, ‘Rocket Boys The Musical is gonna send this kid to Space Camp.’”

He added that Rocket Boys author Homer Hickman, who spent years with NASA himself, “recognized the same traits he had in this boy."

It's unclear whether Ahmed will accept the offer, but he's aware of it, and retweeted Space Camp's announcement of his pending scholarship:

The teen is also making waves with a crowdfunding campaign. An official fund over at Launch Good -- set up to "establish an academic scholarship for Ahmed Mohamed and a fund to support teens like him" -- has already raised more than $10,000.

According to the page:

The funds will be used to help Ahmed further his education and to help other curious students like him interested in STEM fields have access to MakerSpaces where they can use high tech equipment like 3D Printers, CNC Machines, and all sorts of other cool stuff.

Ahmed was expected to return to school Thursday after a three-day suspension, though he noted on Wednesday that he plans to transfer to another school after the clock fiasco.

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