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The Freida J. Riley Teacher Award annually recognizes an American teacher who overcomes adversity or makes an enormous sacrifice in order to positively impact students. It is given in honor of Freida J. Riley, the teacher who inspired the Rocket Boys and is depicted in the film October Sky. Miss Riley died of Hodgkin's disease at the age of 31.

The Freida J. Riley Award & Program was created and written by the National Museum of Education, inspired by the compelling life of an astounding teacher, Miss Freida J. Riley. This with the permission of her sister, Iva Riley Dean.

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