Engaging Students through Innovation

A Perspective from Global Explorer Captain Barrington Irving

Captain Barrington Irving made a risky trip right into history and then into classrooms across the nation to inspire dreams.

In 2007, Captain Irving began a journey around the world. Many kids travel when they are in their twenties, but this journey was very different. This young man was flying solo around the world with only $30 in his pocket after being raised in a crime-ridden part of Miami. He knew he would face many challenges on his trip, but he would literally rise above the drugs, poverty, and crime that had been part of the neighborhood he called home. He was finally living his dream.

Raised in Miami's inner city, surrounded by crime, poverty, and failing schools, he beat the odds. Captain Irving built a plane himself, made his historic flight, graduated magna cum laude from an aeronautical science program, and founded a dynamic educational nonprofit. Then he turned 28.

Irving's nonprofit organization, Experience Aviation, aims to boost the numbers of youth in aviation and other STEM related careers. Middle and high school students attend summer and after-school programs tackling hands-on robotics projects, flight simulator challenges, and field trips to major industries and corporations. In his Build and Soar program, 60 students from failing schools built an airplane from scratch in just 10 weeks and then watched Captain Irving pilot it into the clouds.

After the successful establishment of Experience Aviation, Captain Irving wanted to find a way to inspire millions of students on a larger scale. His next endeavor involved transforming a jet into a flying classroom that has circled the globe sharing science, technology, engineering, math, geography, culture, and history. Students have accompanied Captain Irving to places near and far through engaging in a web-based STEM educational platform called The Flying Classroom.

"Meaningful, real-world learning experiences fire up the neurons in kids' minds," Captain Irving said. "If you don't do that, you've lost them. Purposeful, inspiring activities increase the chance they'll stay on that learning and career path.”

The Flying Classroom has done exactly what Captain Irving intended at the inception of the program. Students, or explorers, across the nation have engaged in expedition lessons and are inspired through engineering design challenges to venture down a STEM career pathway starting in kindergarten. Explorers have completed design challenges on cane toad traps, venom transportation containers, and innovative wing spans.

In regards to his message for children, Captain Irving said: "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. The only person who can stop you from doing something great is you. Even if no one believes in your dream, you have to pursue it."

The secret, he said, is having a dream in the first place, and that starts with powerful learning experiences that inspire kids to pursue careers—particularly in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Authored Collaboratively by The Flying Classroom Team:

Captain Barrington Irving
Dianella Barahona
Hannah Maharaj
 

Steward Voices

Steward is an atmosphere that fosters confidence—something we have seen in all three of our kids. Whether it is playing a new sport, running for a seat on the Honor Council, or singing a solo on Talent Night, they have been encouraged to try, to experience, and to grow.
- Dan and Kathi Campbell, Parents of Abbie ’19, Emma ’17, and Ben ’14

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Steward is the right place for Micah and Kiri because they are able to develop strong connections with their teachers, which in turn facilitates confidence and resilience in their learning. Everyone at Steward knows your name and makes you feel so welcome.
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- Grace Henderson ’10

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Steward provides Andrew with a nurturing environment which fosters his individualism, develops exemplary character traits, and continuously provides him with creative learning experiences. Consequently, Andrew ‘loves’ school and anticipates each day with joy, enthusiasm, and excitement.
- Betsy Jollay, Grandmother of Andrew O’Leary ’25

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I love all that The Steward School has done for Trace. Steward has uncovered Trace’s talents, celebrated his individuality, and strengthened his belief in himself. The faculty and staff offer an amazing balance of challenge and comfort, encouraging the best from all students. I can’t imagine Trace being anywhere else. Thank you, Steward School.
- Ron Coles, Father of Trace Coles ’19 and Grade 5 Teacher

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Being a member of The Steward School international program has been an awesome experience. The community has helped me tremendously along the way.
- Bowen Chen ’15

 

Copyright 2014 The Steward School

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