Times Editorial Board
e are the first to admit that we don’t usually get excited about Crocs — the rubbery slip on shoe — but we are excited by what a bunch of enterprising students at Tivy High School are doing with them.
These students, part of the Tivy Air Force Junior ROTC, are making these shoes fly. Well, let’s say they are making quadcopter drones out of the rubber mass of goo that feels good on aching feet.
We’re not joking here. It’s a real thing.
However, it’s also an important thing these Tivy students are doing — they are innovating. One of their key innovators is junior Lee McDonald, who earned a major scholarship from the U.S. Air Force to become a private pilot.
McDonald’s ultimate goal is to earn an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. He’s still in that process, but the work that he’s doing with his Tivy classmates is turning into something special.
“The sky is wide open,” said retired USAF Col. Bobby Woods, who oversees the Tivy program. “We have great young men and women who want to achieve, and their drive and desire make them competitive for the opportunities.”
The flying shoe is just part of what these students are learning through the ROTC program, and others are learning to pilot aircraft with the aid of advanced simulators and trainers.
In March, Junior ROTC programs from around the region will compete in the Antler Classic, which showcases rocketry and quadcopter skills. The flying skills cadets learn operating drones and the teamwork it requires helps prepare them for potential careers in aviation.
It’s a very positive moment for many of these students, who will take these skills with them to colleges and universities upon graduating from Tivy. However, it’s also an important element of what’s right about our community — we strive to excel. That’s right, we’ve got some talented young people who are determined to serve and make this a better place.
We’re glad we’ve got young people such as Lee McDonald, because we look forward to seeing how he will shape the future of this country and community.