The aviation field is massive and steadily growing, especially in the city of Tulsa. With that in mind, schools are hoping to get students interested in it. This school year an opportunity to do just that was presented to Eliot.
The Litespeed flight demonstration team led by Dennis Michael hosts free STEM-related assemblies for local schools.
Dennis is a model aviation enthusiast and the founder of the team. He began flying model planes in the second grade and hasn't stopped. His passion inspired him to create a program that would help introduce aviation and STEM to students.
During the assembly, Dennis gives a detailed history on the innovators and engineers that made aviation what it is today. This character-building lesson is used to encourage students to follow their dreams, never give up, and to say no to drugs and alcohol.
It is his goal to inspire students and teachers alike.
“We understand the lack of funding in the state and refuse to let it limit the students. We are here to encourage the kids and teachers. We don’t want the teachers leaving for other states, we need them teaching here and not giving up. It’s a message for everyone in the room,” said Dennis.
Funding for the event comes from the generosity of community donors and sponsors.
“We are a 501-C charity, as a non-profit, our donors and sponsors take an interest in students' education to help fund these programs as the schools are not charged.”
As the presentation was going on, the students' eyes were glued to Dennis and the different model planes. High-speed racing, risky stunts, and crashes were all a part of the marvelous show as Dennis demonstrated the results of perseverance.
The show left the students with a new outlook.
“My favorite part of the assembly is when they were flying the drones,” said 2nd grader Copper Philpott. “The coolest thing I learned was to never give up.”
When asked what he wants to do when he gets older Cooper said, “I might want to be an airplane designer.”
Eliot Principal Sharon Holt was very happy with how well the program aligned with the school's vision.
“At Eliot, we provide a STEAM focus along with high expectations; we also encourage students to make healthy life choices and build positive character traits that will last a lifetime,” said Principal Holt. “The Lightspeed Airshow combined history, science, and character education with the engagement and perseverance of an RC air show. Students loved it, teachers loved it, and it provided a valuable lesson. This is a great show for schools that focus on providing early development in positive life choices as well as inspiration for future STEAM careers.”
So far, the program has been presented to over 10 TPS schools this year, and there are many others scheduled. For more information on the Litespeed program please click here.