Isabella teacher envisions county-wide engineering team

Published 12:29 pm Thursday, June 30, 2011

Jay LeCroy, physics instructor at Isabella High School, has been visiting different places spreading the word about a county-wide all-star engineering team he wants to see implemented.

LeCroy has given presentations regarding his ideas to expand Isabella’s Mustang Engineering program to a county-wide engineering team to Thorsby, Clanton and Jemison’s city councils; the Kiwanis Club and anyone that wants to listen, he said.

The organization’s mission statement is to inspire and train students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

“The purpose of this program is to get the students to start thinking about what their futures will be,” said LeCroy. “As they compete they think about their careers and receive the training to go into these fields.”

The students involved would become a company and travel to robotic competitions at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Auburn University to compete against some of the top schools, and would be trained by retired mentors or current engineers working in the field.

The entire company would be run by students, from assembling, calculating and programming the robots to operating them during competitions.

This year, Isabella students placed sixth out of 45 teams at the UAB competition and placed 36 out of 60 at the competition at Auburn University.

“At Isabella we have a group of students who want this — they recognize their future hinges on getting a strong education,” said LeCroy. “This is what the kids are telling me, they want to learn more and do more, and compete against the bigger schools.”

There are numerous benefits for the students and the county including scholarships through the program; but like anything, finances play a major role.

Voluntarily, LeCroy is looking to get the all-star team together and compete to create a name for the county.

“When small schools from small counties beat bigger schools in bigger counties, they get a reputation of excelling in academics,” LeCroy said. “I believe the county can be successful on a bigger scale because we have the same academic level as other schools. I don’t want to see Chilton County take the backseat, and they don’t have to.”