In the middle of the Texas desert, on the border with Mexico, sits the tiny town of Presidio.
If you’re a kid looking to escape the poverty and isolation of Presidio, there’s really no greater vehicle than the Presidio Rocket Club. It was launched a few years ago by a firecracker of a science teacher named Shella Condino.
“I wanted to teach the kids: You want something so bad, you put your heart into it,” she says.
Her goal isn’t really to make future rocket scientists; it’s more just to make futures.
“In rocketry, you don’t have instructions on how to build it,” says tenth-grader Marla Baltazar. “And that’s how life is. It doesn’t come with instructions, you have to make it on your own.”
Her teacher knows all about that. Born dirt-poor in the Philippines, she came to the U.S. on a temporary work visa. She came to Presidio because no American teachers would.