While most students scatter like a covey of quail when they finish a school year, some at Mobile County’s B. C. Rain high school’s Aviation and Aerospace Academy are building an airplane. Their work actually began during the school year. But now they are being assisted by students from other highs schools and middle schools, along with volunteers and interns from Airbus.
Brett Davis is aerospace instructor at the academy. According to Davis, students learn skills they may use one day in a career in aerospace, perhaps in Mobile. He adds that students also learn how to think critically and solve problems.
When completed, the plane will be a two-seater with one engine. And yes, students will have the chance to fly in it, or one just like it.
The Aviation and Aerospace Academy is one of 12 academies in the Mobile County system. Others are: Advanced Careers; Pre-Med, Medical and Health; Coastal Studies; Manufacturing; Engineering Pathways Integrated Curriculum; Law, Arts and Health Services; Biomedical Sciences; International Studies; Industry and Engineering; Advanced Information Technology and Maritime, Engineering and Entrepreneurship
In 2017 U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos called out the Mobile system for their lack of school choice. At least that was what a Brookings Institute report claimed. And DeVos, an avowed supporter of charter schools and vouchers, was quick to echo the info Brookings promoted.
Superintendent Martha Peek was not pleased and said so. She said the Brookings analysis was, “a bunch of political garbage done by someone at a desk in Washington I am shocked that the Secretary of Education would reference a website review.”
DeVos later made a visit to Mobile at the invitation of Congressman Bradley Byrne. After visiting several schools, she and Peek had a chance to visit. “It was a very nice conversation,” Peek said. “I found her to be a good listener and very interested in what we were saying.”
Knowing Peek, who retired last June, as I do, I am sure she was cordial to DeVos, but made a strong case for the options students in Mobile County have.