Jane and Helen were in the same physics class in high school. And, unlike the other classes they shared, their teacher had latched onto them as stand-out students. In private, he told them to call him Greg. He confided in them about his frustration with the school administrators, and his frustration with empty-headed students. When he won the Mayor’s Teaching Medal, it was Jane and Helen he invited to the ceremony.
In other classes, the teachers separated the girls. They had to sit on opposite sides of the room. They couldn’t work on projects together, because they were too much trouble. But not in Greg’s class. In Greg’s class he treated them like they were his prize students. And for that, Jane and Helen loved him.
And he encouraged them to study whatever they wanted. For their year end presentation in his class, they talked about possible power sources for UFO technology. Jane had designed a poster, demonstrating the various types of UFO commonly reported, as well as a breakdown of which seemed most likely to be interstellar and which might be designed for exploration planet-side.
"Oh please," a girl in the front row said. "Give me a break." This girl was named Caitlin.
And instead of ignoring Caitlin, Greg stood up at the back of the class.
"She’s right, Jane," he said. "Helen. I think it would be helpful if you girls slowed it down just a bit. I think some people are having trouble keeping up with you."
After class, Caitlin was waiting in the hallway for them.
"Why don’t you ever do a science project about real science?" she said. "All you ever talk about is bullshit, like UFOs and the moon landing." Helen tried to keep walking, but Jane held her back.
"The moon landing is not bullshit," Jane said quietly.
"The moon landing was faked," Caitlin said. "Everybody knows that."
"Fuck you! You were faked!" Jane said. She shoved Caitlin hard against the lockers.
Later, it was her teacher Greg who wrote a letter in her defence to the principal.
"She is passionate about science," he wrote. "I have never had a student with her combination of intelligence and passion before, and I think it would be a crime to limit her future options by putting this blemish on her record. She should of course be punished, as violence is never acceptable, but I urge you to find a punishment that will not go on her permanent record."
In private, though, he was even more supportive.
"I cannot say that what you did is right, Jane," he told her, "Even though, let’s face it, it was. I suppose I should not say this, either. I am very proud of you. Your passion is inspiring to an old man. When the school year is over, I will be sad to lose you."