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CTE News

Pilot trying to guide students to math and science

Apr 21, 2015 | Community Relations
Barrington Irving 1

Captain Barrington Irving speaking to junior high students about their chance to build a car.

Forty Lamar CISD students – 20 from George Junior High and 20 Lamar Junior High – will have to opportunity to write the best “What I Did On Summer Vacation” story ever.

They will build a race car.

Lamar CISD is partnering with Experience Aviation to show students that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) courses are important for their futures.

The program also shows students the real-world applications for those classes – and how they can be fun.

The program is the brainchild of Capt. Barrington Irving, who at age 23 set the Guinness World Record as the youngest person to make a solo flight around the world. He even constructed the plane he used for the flight.

Since then, Irving has been trying to spread the word that science and math can lead to a bright future. 

Irving visited with students from the two junior high schools, urging them to take an interest in math and science.

He related how he turned down a football scholarship to pursue his dream to fly planes. Irving played fullback and linebacker at a school that was ranked No. 1 in the country and his friends and coaches thought he’d lost his mind.

“Out of all those guys I played with on that team, only two eventually made it to the NFL,” Irving told 7th - and 8th-grade students at the two schools. “The longest pro career was two and a half years. I’ve made more money than both of them combined … through math and science.”

The 40 students will be mentored by high school students in Lamar CISD’s Auto Technology program over the summer, building a car from “scratch.” The result will be a vehicle with a top speed of around 160 mph and able to accelerate 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds. Once completed, the car will become part of the Lamar CISD Auto Tech program. 

While, only current 8th-grade students are eligible for the car building program, the 7th graders also have something to look forward to, which Barrington described as the “Magic School Bus with Wings.”

The Flying Classroom is web-based program that allows students to follow Irving, who has been named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, as he travels the globe. 

Irving showed students a few clips from earlier adventures, including 3D printing of a Nike sneaker, building a video game, repairing coral reefs and observing poisonous sea snakes. 

During the 2015-2016 school  year, students at Lamar and George junior highs will be interacting with Barrington, solving problems and even helping make food choices. 

Lamar Consolidated High School Assistant Principal Creighton Jaster is also developing several innovative “courses” to round out the STEM experience for the car builders.

The eighth graders will learn how to use computer-aided drafting to create their own carbon-dioxide-powered vehicle, participate in a National Geographic experience with the “Flying Classroom,” take a short course on the physics required to create the vehicle and be trained on the many tools needed to build the car.

Valerie Vogt, Lamar CISD’s Academic Administrator, has high hopes for the program.

“This reaches students on so many levels,” she said. “It gives the students a concrete connection to classroom subjects and the real world. There is also the added benefit of a role model who encourages them to set high goals.” 

“We want to show our students all the possibilities,” she said. “Often students at this age think of athletics as the primary road to financial success or college scholarships.  Captain Irving’s story emphasizes that it’s perseverance and your own high goals that matter the most.”