Star pilot inspires students with helicopter classroom

Barrington Irving

Tanicia Milton was still oozing with excitement days after famous Caribbean-American pilot Barrington Irving visited her Lauderhill school, Royal Palm Elementary, in a helicopter. Irving Barrington, who holds the record as the youngest and first black pilot to fly solo around the world, has been taking his “flying classrooms” to schools across the global for his STEM education program

“I was so excited to see this big helicopter landing!” said Milton.

Accompanying Irving were Broward School Superintendent Robert Runcie and the vice-chair of the Broward School Board, Rosalind Osgood.

Tanicia father, Delano Milton, said he is “very proud at the unique strategy Irving is taking to bring the awareness of important subjects like math and science to young students. By flying to schools, these students will never forget the importance of these subjects.”

Delano, originally from Jamaica, expressed pride “in the role my fellow Jamaicans, Irving and Runcie, are playing in education. These Jamaican men make so proud of their achievements.”

Irving also flew to Pines Lake Elementary School in Pembroke Pines, and Westwood Heights Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale. Irving also spoke with students, encouraging them to explore the STEM fields.

These recent visits are an extension of his global “Flying classroom” program. The program is normally done by satellite communication into classroom, as he travels around the world showing case studies relevant to their course work. But this helicopter visit, said Irving, allowed him to more directly engaged with local students in his home county

Superintendent Runcie supported the local initiative, calling the project “inspirational and motivational” for the students who he described as being “awe struck” by last week’s experience. Meanwhile, Irving plans to take his helicopter-classroom to more schools in South Florida.

“I really hope Irving gets will be able fly into as many schools as possible. The plane that he flew around the world was named ‘The Inspiration’ and he has been a real inspiration to the youth in America, Jamaica and globally. He has inspired my 19-year-old boy to be a pilot,” said Milton.

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