The Flight of the Century team believes it is critical for the future success of America to engage our kids in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (“STEM”). During our travels, we make a point of dropping in on our schools to talk about the importance and real world relevance of how taking these hard classes can result in very rewarding careers and accomplishments. Recently, we were honored to speak to 400 bright young kids at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano, California and had a wonderful time interacting with everyone there and got some great images in the gallery below. // Photos by Cassie Fuertez //
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“We live in a world of instant gratification. Science, technology, engineering and math are difficult subjects to tackle in a world where people think if it doesn’t come easy, it isn’t worth it. Chip has so many important messages about grit and NOT GIVING UP with such positive enthusiasm. He shows that there is reward in failure, and mistakes can even be funny, motivating, and make things even better. His passion and excitement engage and ignite young minds to embrace and study hard subjects like STEM, a message young kids need today whatever their career path may be.” — Christine Lindenfelser, Parent, St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, San Juan Capistrano, California
Creator and Rider of “World’s Fastest Electric Motorcycle” Visits Lower School to Talk STEM
By Londa Posvistak, Instructional Technology Support and Computer Science Teacher
Eleven-time world record holder, engineer and daredevil Chip Yates came to inspire the growing minds of St. Margaret’s Lower School students on January 31. The animated speaker entertained as well as educated grades K-5 about pursuing the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiative, and how through those four key elements he was able to transform the face of green transportation. In just 18 months Chip and his team of experts innovated and created the world’s fastest electric motorcycle in addition to the world’s fastest electric airplane. Chip not only came up with the concept and aided in the construction, but risked life and limb to test each of these amazing innovations.
Although Chip had been a lifelong daredevil it wasn’t his initial career path, after years as a Boeing executive, Chip reverted back to his childhood dream of motorcycle racing; however, he had never ridden a motorcycle before. He was luckily a quick study and before he knew it, in 2009, a professional motorcycle racer. Chip’s ambition didn’t stop there, after an injury racing Chip needed a new project to occupy his time; subsequently the idea of creating the fastest electric motorcycle was born. With help from his team he was able to not only create an electric motorcycle, but create one that could go 200mph and beat gas powered motorcycles in competition. After those kinds of accomplishments you can only go up- and that is exactly what he did. He somehow dreamed even bigger and strived to create the fastest electric airplane. As he had with his other invention, Chip wanted to be the tester of the plane. To do this he needed to obtain a pilot’s license, which he received just shortly before the initial flight; again demonstrating his ability to achieve what he sets his mind to.
Chip has accomplished a lot in a short period of time, but made sure to explain to the students that it was not an easy process. He described the trials and tribulations he faced, and provided important lessons he has learned throughout the years; from moving past set-backs and frustrations, seeking the advice of experts, and pursuing your passion. Kids were enthralled by his presentation and were able to make connections between what he had done to change the way we look at green technology and what they are doing in class. Through their own science and robotics programs, students are gathering vital tools of problem solving, creating and testing to grow their engineering brains to one day be able to accomplish great feats like Chip. Jennifer Blount, Lower School assistant principal, explained, “Chip Yates provided a dynamic, informative and motivating presentation to our young learners. He was the perfect complement to our growing STEM program. His enthusiasm reignited the light for many of our teachers and students.” With a line of 400 eager kids vying for an autographed picture of Chip’s inventions, students provided tangible evidence of the impact that he made.
“Chip came to our school with enthusiasm and an organized presentation tailored to our young audience. When I began to coordinate the visit, I was amazed at how Chip and his team worked within our guidelines and time constraints to make it work for the students and teachers. During the presentation, I looked around the venue and saw faces with expressions of amazement as they listened and watched Chip on stage.” — Londa Posvistak, Technology Department, JR FLL Coach
“Chip Yates provided a dynamic, informative and motivating presentation to our young learners. He was the perfect complement to our growing STEM program. His enthusiasm reignited the light for many of our teachers and students.” — Jennifer Blount, Assistant Principal, Lower School