Record-Setting Pilot Inspires Oxbridge Academy Students To Reach New Heights

The Oxbridge Academy proved to its students that the sky is the limit by bringing in world-famous pilot Capt. Barrington Irving as a distinguished guest speaker in December. Irving helped launch the secondary school’s new Institute for Aviation and shared his story of persistence and passion to a crowd of nearly 550 students.

“Never let anyone tell you it cannot be done,” Irving said during the all-student assembly.

At age 23, Irving became the youngest person and only African-American to ever fly solo around the globe on a 97-day, 30,000-mile journey in a single-engine aircraft. Raised in inner-city Miami, the former high school football athlete told students about his journey to aviation and the challenges he overcame in order to pursue his dream.

“This is a man who gave up a full-ride football scholarship in order to chase his dream,” said Dr. Karen Hinkley of the Oxbridge Academy. “Not only did he have to find a way to pay for his pilot training, he then had to secure an additional $650,000 to fund an airplane. What our students heard today was that when you want something badly enough, you keep going until you find a way to overcome the obstacles before you.”

While mathematics and science courses are part of traditional high school curricula, Oxbridge takes learning a step further with hands-on immersion into the field of aviation. Coursework includes applied lessons of physics in flight, motion and materials science as it applies to aviation and aerospace. Guest speakers, field trips and flight time in the new Redbird MCX full-motion simulator will round out the program, giving students a firsthand experience of the science behind flight.

The aviation program is one of many opportunities that Oxbridge students have to explore their passions or discover hidden talents. From science and technology to English and the arts, students apply classroom concepts to real-world applications, thereby achieving deeper learning while improving their values of confidence, discipline and perseverance.

Oxbridge Junior Liam Chardack, who is already a licensed pilot, said he has dreamed of a career in flight for as long as he can remember, and seeing Irving helped show him he can make it a reality with hard work and determination.

“He really showed me that I’ve got to keep trying and I will make it,” Chardack said.

The Oxbridge Academy’s mission is to provide a challenging, dynamic education in the classroom, laboratory, art studio, athletic field and now airfield to produce leaders through meaningful, hands-on student research, collaboration and creativity. For more info., visit or call (561) 972-9600.

ABOVE: Barrington Irving (right), the youngest pilot to fly around the world, speaks with Oxbridge senior Stephen Berkner and sophomore Brandon Hayek.