Fort Mill Times

On My Mind: NaFo, FM high schools’ plane project deserved more coverage

“Tell me and I forget; teach me and I may remember; involve me and I will learn.” – Xunzi

They did it! They built an airplane! They designed and built a World War I Sopwith Camel. Designing and constructing this airplane was an enormous project and a wonderful accomplishment on behalf of David Griffin and 80 high school students.

This feat certainly linked generations, Griffin stated. “This allowed me to have confidence in those generations reinvigorated.” he said. “I don’t worry for the future of America.”

Although it was not designed and constructed overnight, it may have well been so with as little publicity as this enormous accomplishment received. Planning and building this airplane was two years in the making. The Close family funded this project through an earmarked gift to the Foundation for Fort Mill Schools. Students in the Fort Mill High School’s engineering program and Nation Ford High School’s automotive program came under the supervision of Griffin to design and build this plane. The students used school facilities for the design, construction and computer-aided manufacturing technology. But sadly, they built this plane almost unnoticed.

I believe these students, along with Griffin, should have received far more recognition than the single article in the Fort Mill Times on Wednesday, June 11. I do not fault the Fort Mill Times for such an enormous oversight. I do, however, fault the leadership of each of these high schools. Our two high schools are among the best in the nation. For this elite group of students to be slighted in their efforts was a gross oversight on their behalf.

A weekly update on the progress of such a huge undertaking would have certainly attracted national attention. Instead, we had a single article in the Fort Mill Times.

Funding for education in our country, our state and our local districts has been consistently and systematically slashed. We are constantly forced to comply with unfunded mandates. In other words, we must comply with new requirements for education without receiving additional funding. Educating children is expensive. We, as educators, are constantly being forced to do more and more with less and less. With such an enormity of underfunding of education, we must at every opportunity stand out and make ourselves be noticed.

Oftentimes if you do not toot you own horn, your horn goes untooted. We here in Fort Mill have a multitude of opportunities to toot our own horns. So here is my recommendation: At every opportunity, toot your horn! The Fort Mill Bands do, and look at what they have accomplished!

Luther Thomas Wood is a resident Fort Mill.