The October Sky is the Limit
Illustration by Justine Patrice Bacareza
October Sky, a movie produced in 1999, is based on the true story of Homer Hickam, and his journey toward making his own rocket despite his father’s wishes and the people advising him against it. In a small town named Coalwood, coal mining seems to be the only option of work; only few of the students are “lucky” enough to receive a football scholarship and get to go to college outside the small town. Homer, inspired by seeing the first Sputnik pass by their town, vowed to build his own rocket someday and reach space. As he told everyone about his plans, some people shunned him for being so unrealistic, with his father telling him that coal mining is nothing to be ashamed of. Despite this, he continued to study rocketry, with his friends —Roy Lee Cook, Sherman O’dell, and the closest thing they had to an expert, Quentin Wilson — and was continuously supported by his teacher, Miss Riley. With this newly found interest, the four boys had a chance of getting a science scholarship by representing their school, Big Creek High, in a science fair.
This film appeals to different emotions, as we witness Homer and the crew’s hardships, rejoice every time somebody helps them, and as our hearts melt at the scene where Homer’s father finally supports him; this also lets us learn things that can make all of us a better person. The main points of the story are things that we should never, ever, forget, no matter what our ages are, or no matter what our goals are.
Find friends that we can always count on, no matter what the occasion. Homer’s interest in rockets was his own, yet his friends immediately helped him in making his first amateur one. Yes, they may have scrunched their eyebrows in confusion at first, but they were there to support him when he decided to work hard for his dreams. They never left him, too. Even though nearly the whole town disregarded what they were doing, they never left Homer. They started to want to win the science fair, both because of Homer and because the thought that they could go to the “outside world” and not end up mining coal inspired them. Friends like this are hard to find, but when we do find them, they are hard to lose.
Sometimes, all it takes is a good teacher to see a student’s worth. Nowadays, teachers are seen only as those who teach us purely academic things, or those whose job is to quiz students and grade them accordingly, but this mindset should be expunged. A teacher’s job is not only to teach, but also to inspire. Teachers can inspire so many students to follow their inner dreams — the dreams that they think they cannot reach. Miss Riley believed in her students, and because of this, they were confident enough to enter the science fair. A teacher can fuel a student’s imagination, and can motivate others to cherish every idea they have. They can be a source of inspiration, motivation, and hope.
The family is the best pillar for support. No matter how against us they might seem, we must know that they are always there for us; no matter how much hate is in the family, saying bad things just won’t work. Although our parents not supporting us in whatever we do may seem to be a mistake in their part, they are doing this because they only want what’s best for us.
There is no such thing as a “predestined ending”; it is us who carve our own paths. It is never bad to dream about some things happening, no matter how low the chances. We must never, ever, stop trying. No matter how many people tell us to stop — even if you feel like the whole world is against us — we should always believe in ourselves and our capabilities. Sometimes, though, we must understand that the norms are there for a reason, and some follow them because of good results. These good results do not mean that we should stop trying and settle for less. No one, not even ourselves, will know how far we can go, unless we swim against the flow and strive for what we think is right. We must follow what our hearts yearns for, follow what they scream, because if it is what we want, even if there is no road to wherever we want to go, then we can carve your own paths. We do not have to listen to what anybody else says. We just have to listen to what’s inside.
This movie is, all-in-all, one of the best there is, especially to the people who are having a hard time following their dreams. We must remember that we will never know unless we try. We are not bound to a certain conclusion. We shape our own fates. We are not limited to a certain ending, a certain job, a certain future, because the [October] Sky is the limit.