IMAGE: Elon Musk

Elon Musk visits a Mid-Michigan school

Elon Musk made a surprise visit to Mid-Michigan.

Musk, the tech billionaire known for Tesla and SpaceX, was at Doyle-Ryder Elementary in Flint on March 22.

He spoke to an auditorium full of students Friday morning, hoping to inspire students to test their imaginations and build something extraordinary.

"Engineering was the closest thing to magic that actually existed in the real world," Musk said.

Musk gave a presentation to Flint kids about his journey with science and what SpaceX has been up to.

Musk brought some of his team members from Tesla, like senior engineer Markell Baldwin to talk to students about the importance of learning science, technology, engineering, and math.

"To be able to contribute, to be able to share my story to individuals, to be able to say they can also be an engineer through STEM. That's encouraging," Baldwin said.

During Musk's visit, Flint Community Schools announced a high tech junior high school concept for next school year.

The school district said this idea will be achieved by restructuring the district’s secondary school instructional delivery model with STEM learning at the center of student curriculum.

The Musk Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation donated thousands of dollars to help jump start this idea.

The Musk Foundation donated $423,600 to help give all 7th-grade and 8th-grade students  a Chromebook laptop for next school year for their STEM education.

The Mott Foundation donated $300,000 to develop curriculum and materials that will benefit the instructional delivery for students at the junior high school.

“For the first time, every junior high school student in the city of Flint will have access to a comprehensive STEM education,” said Derrick Lopez, superintendent of Flint Community Schools. “The Musk Foundation, in tandem with long-time partners like the Mott Foundation, is critical to making this model accessible to our students.”

Superintendent Lopez said this event was to get the students excited about the STEM learning focus there.

"We wanted to do something that was big," Lopez said. "To launch this for our kids. And to make sure that they understood how important they are to us in this community."

Kids say it's mind blowing and inspiring.

"It was so awesome to actually meet somebody who designs rockets," said Brea King, a 6th grader. "And to be able to shoot them up in the sky. And someone that is able to look at planets and Mars and stuff like that." 

The school district will also receive new ultraviolet water filtration systems in water fountains in school buildings thanks to an additional $480,350 donated by the Musk Foundation.

Muck announced that he will be giving some Flint students the opportunity to visit SpaceX, a company that designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecrafts, as well as a visit to the design studio at Tesla in Hawthorne, California.

Participating students will be chosen by the district based on academic merit.

Musk also made an appearance at Woodland Park Academy in Grand Blanc. Students and staff thanked him for his foundation's generous donations.

“My hope is to inspire the students of Flint to want to make things, just as I did as a child and as a young engineer,” Musk said. “I want students to know that through hard work and a belief in themselves, they can pursue and achieve the unimaginable.”

Musk left students with a piece of advice.

"Really allow your curiosity to flourish," Musk said.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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(1) comment


One clarification, the term "UV filtration" is not entirely accurate as UV light used for disinfection does not remove particles from the water. What will likely be the solution form the Musk foundation is a multi-stage system with both filters to remove harmful particles and UV to treat any pathogens, like Legionella. The UV will likely be one of the last stages as there are no residual effects of UV light for disinfection. Also, based on the size, they might utilize a UV LED system as these installations might be fairly small and conventional UV systems would not be ideal for this application.

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