By Tom Costello, NBC News correspondent
Ever had a teacher who truly made a difference in your life? Someone who set you on a course that you really didn't expect?
Well, the students at Fredericksburg High School in Texas have just such a teacher, and he's turned a whole lot of kids on to subjects many of them had no interest in.
The hard ones: Math, Science and Physics!
In 1996, Brett Williams had an idea. To get kids really excited about science and physics, he needed to step away from the classroom to help make those subjects come alive.
He decided on a hands-on project that takes dedication, focus and commitment....and above all else, is really cool: Rockets!
That was the beginning of the Redbird Rocket Program at FHS. That first year, they managed to send one rocket up one mile, carrying one pound.
They've since become the first high school to break the sound barrier, even soaring to 100,000 feet.
Today, they are preparing to send a 500 pound rocket up to the edge of space, carrying a payload from Stanford University graduate students.
Fredericksburg High School's Aerospace program is turning into a model for the entire state.
Dozens of high schools now participate in the annual rocket launch. But only FHS has developed a program so sophisticated, the air force gets involved - launching its biggest rocket every year from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
Now, there's a movement to take the program that Brett Williams started, and spread it across the country.
This is not the Estes Rockets of old!
Tonight on Nightly News, we'll go along as the students in Fredericksburg see if their hard work paid off.