"When I walk into Mr. Thrasher’s classroom, his students are engaged and enthusiastic about what they are learning,” says Nathan Allison, Principal of the Nesbitt Discovery Academy. “His passion for educating kids is such an asset to us.”
Principal Allison is speaking about Will Thrasher, their engineering and robotics teacher.
On this day, Mr. Thrasher is showing his students the principals of building a sturdy house. Using the skills they’ve learned in previous lessons, they are able to make important connections between what they read in a book and the real world.
Mr. Thrasher explains, “overall in my classes, they get to see so many ways to apply their math and science, but also a preview of real-life engineering challenges. When they go to the next level, they’ve seen a little bit of everything in this field so they can choose where they want to specialize.”
Whether his students are constructing model houses or building and programming robots, Mr. Thrasher says it’s amazing to see his students succeed in building a machine from scratch and programming it to perform a specific function.
“When we do basic machinery and they build a machine that can lift a heavy weight, they have this 'ah-ha' moment. It’s really great to see that,” says Thrasher.
Mr. Thrasher says he learned these STEM concepts at the college level, and he’s excited that his students have such a head start in exploring these careers.
“I didn’t experience this until college, and I want these young people to know what’s out there. That was my draw to this profession. I’m doing what I love, and I get to teach it as well," he says.