Renowned Pilot Barrington Irving Inspires Hundreds of Local Students

Story Update: To see a photo gallery of events from Captain Barrington's visit, please visit our Facebook page!

Hundreds of Okaloosa County School District students will hear Captain Barrington Irving speak about his inspirational life experiences on Tuesday, February 5th at Choctawhatchee High School.

Irving will speak to three separate groups of elementary, middle and high school students, reaching approximately 1,500 Okaloosa County School District students, about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).  The goal of each presentation is to encourage students to engage in STEM-focused opportunities.

A public reception will be held for Irving on Tuesday, February 5th from 4 pm to 6 pm at Choctawhatchee High School.  At the reception, Irving will speak to teachers and community members about the importance of offering and supporting STEM-related activities.

Gulf Power Company, Cox Communications, InDyne, Inc., Fort Walton Machining, and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity are sponsoring the two-day speaking event for Irving in Okaloosa County.

Irving’s impressive background includes being the youngest person and only African American to fly solo around the world. He received a 2007 Congressional Resolution recognizing this historic achievement.  He also founded Experience Aviation, a non-profit organization that works to increase the number of students in STEM-related careers.

Exposed to aviation at a young age, Irving shares his experience with as many students as possible.  In his “Build and Soar” program, 60 students built an airplane from scratch in ten weeks and then watched Irving pilot the plane.

“We need everyone’s ideas and engagement to keep students excited about STEM-related careers,” said Stan Connally, Gulf Power President and CEO.  “Exposing students to someone like Captain Irving is another way we can help spark that interest.  Gulf Power remains highly engaged at the local and state level in workforce development efforts like these to help our communities stay strong and ensure we continue to be able to provide our essential services to Northwest Florida.”

For more information about Barrington Irving, visit

For more information on any of the events, contact Jennifer Grove at (850) 444-6821.

Media Note: A private reception will also be held for Irving on Monday, February 4th from 5 pm to 7 pm at the Okaloosa STEMM Center in Valparaiso, Fla. The news media is welcome to attend all events.