“A Smile as big as the Moon” Movie is on ABC Sunday
Last night in Grand Rapids was a wonderful evening filled with love and excitement as more that 1,000 people gathered at Celebration Cinema North to celebrate! They were celebrating an event that happened in 1989, resulting in a book, a movie, and, more importantly, success for some very special, special-needs people.
With the 'made-for-TV' movie premiering for the Grand Rapids crowd, the evening was filled with anticipation.
My friend, Mike Kersjes and his co-teacher, Robynn McKinney were the special education teachers that made everything happen at Forest Hill Norther High School in the 8o's.
The true story, published in 2002, was written by Kersjes and Joe Layden. It details the efforts of Kersjes and McKinney, who overcame many obstacles to send a group of 19 Forest Hills special needs students to Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala. in 1989.
The movie premier event last night was thrown as a benefit for the Special Olympics and coordinated by the Kent Intermediate School District.
I remember working with Mike over the years, helping him with fund raising events for his Space Is Special Foundation. He'd create golf outings, have dinners, anything to spread the word about "his kids" and the foundation. There were so many times that we wondered, would this ever happen. Could he take it to the "next level?" Mike never wavered. His vision was set, and he made it happen.
Mike who lives in Huntsville, Alabama now, was in town for the premier last night, of course. He flies to L.A. today for the premier with John Corbett. But, before he left town, I had Mike on the show this morning. What a great time. I asked Mike, how was it having John Corbett play him in the movie. "Not too shabby," he said. "Thank God he's better looking."
After all these years and many, many, ups and downs, the story will be told to millions of people. Mike's imagination and dreams pay off.
Don't forget, Sunday night, January 29th, 9 PM on WZZM 13, ABC. I'll be glued to my TV set. How about you?