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cover4LANCASTER– Recently,Lancaster ISD welcomed the world-famous Captain Barrington Irving Jr. to the Lancaster Independent School District 21st Century STEM Learning Expo and Rites of Passage Extravaganza.

The learning expo took place at the Lancaster High School IB/STEM Academy located at 200 E. Wintergreen Road in Lancaster Texas.

It was a free public event and represented the culminating celebration of all things academic and will include student project-based learning assignments, the honoring and awarding of the STEM scholars and more than 350 project, activity and information stations facilitated by students and STEM instructors.

“It an opportunity for the community, businesses and parents to see what the students in Lancaster ISD have engaged in throughout the school year,” Lancaster ISD STEM Director Antionette Mathews said.

Mathews also explained that the Rites of Passage aspect of this event has an inter-linked purpose.

The STEM Rites of Passage celebrates the students’ completion of STEM milestones at designated grade levels. The milestones are indicators to help our district ask critical to determine where we are on the spectrum of 21st Century skills integration and the goal of providing our students with opportunities to graduate with More Than a Diploma.

The Lancaster ISD STEM Expo has an aviation and engineering focus and will somewhat serve as the bridge to the district’s K-8th grade STEM Summer Camp experiences. To inspire and help launch the summer experience, students, parents and community supporters had the chance to meet the world renown, Guinness Book World Record holder, Captain Irving.

At the age of 23, Captain Irving staked his claim in history as the youngest and first black person to pilot a plane around the world solo. At 30, he is now the founder of the non-profit Experience Aviation that is dedicated to connecting and empowering minority youth to pursue careers in aviation through hands-on interactive learning experiences.

He accomplished his historical feat in a Cessna 400 standard utility plane appropriately named “Inspiration” and now, through his mission of educating youth and connecting them to a brighter future of opportunities, he has become an inspiration for students around the world.

Lancaster ISD is one of two premier districts that implements this summer experience.

Sixty students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade had an opportunity to work with the history maker in the BI60 Flying Tigers Operation: Build and Soar Camp directly hosted by Captain Irving and his team.

Mathews described this camp as the experience of a lifetime for participating students.

Other opportunities were provided to build a super sports car, 12 high powered drones, and launch a high altitude balloon thousands of miles into the atmosphere.

“No one in the DFW area has done any of these projects, let alone with the first and then youngest black person to fly solo around the world,” she said.

Other students in Lancaster ISD and the surrounding areas in grades K-8 also will have the chance to participate in a 2 week-aviation program hosted by math and science educators in the district.

Captain Barrington Irving gave students the inside view of a STEM-fused learning environment and the great happenings in Lancaster ISD this summer and beyond!

For more information on STEM education in Lancaster ISD, contact the district office at 972-218-1400 or visit the district website at

You can also learn more facts about the Experience Aviation program for minority and urban youth at