James F. Doughty School and William S. Cohen School eighth graders heard an inspiring message from aviation hero Barrington Irving on Wednesday, September 23.
In 2007, Irving became the first African American (and at that time the youngest person) to ever fly solo around the world. Captain Irving told students about his upbringing in poverty and how he thought football would be his escape, but after being inspired by a pilot that he met while working at his parents’ store, he turned down a football scholarship at the University of Florida and enrolled in flight school.
Irving built his own plane, completed his historic flight, graduated magna cum laude from an aeronautical science program, and founded a nonprofit called Experience Aviation. He now inspires young people to pursue careers in STEM through his flying classroom.
Captain Irving spoke about having a dream, and persevering to see that dream come to reality. “The only thing that separates you from CEOs in corner offices or scientists in labs is determination, hard work, and a passion for what you want to achieve,” says Captain Irving.
Captain Irving certainly made an impact on Bangor’s eighth graders – when asked if they were interested in pursuing STEM, more than half the students raised their hands after the assembly.
Visit Captain Barrington Irving’s Flying Classroom at www.flyingclassroom.com.