(Memphis) It was a moment Darius Hooker called life-changing, “He came around the corner with his hand out and said how are you guys doing and in that moment I kind of forgot my name.”
Monday, he met the President of the United States at the annual White House Science Fair.
“This is the one I used to explain rocketry to the president,” he said holding his model rocket. “I had to break it down a little.
Rocketry is a complex science, but for Hooker it’s a talent he honed in the Aerospace Program of Woodddale High School.
The only four year program of its kind in the state.
He earned top honors for building a rocket with his partner Wesley Carter last year.
“The competition required us to send 2 raw eggs 800 feet in 45 seconds,” he said.
Their success landed the two of them the invitation to meet the President.
“He said he liked the design. He asked us if we recovered the eggs and did it make it? We told him yeah and he said he was proud,” he said.
But no one is prouder than their teacher Jeff Holmes, “This is very unique. You don’t get to meet the President everyday.”
He said his former students talents will soon reach new heights, “They’re heading for great things.”
Hooker plans to go into aviation design, his partner into air traffic control.
Big dreams launched at Wooddale High.
There are more than 100 students in the aerospace program at Wooddale High.
It started back in the 1990’s thanks to a large grant from NASA.
Mr. Holmes said that students learn everything from model rockets to how to fly a plane using a flight simulator.
He said there are still a few seats left in the program for next year.