Welcome To Attitude Adjustment Racing
18 March 2016.
Paul Kilbride, Headmaster of Old Swinford Hospital school, writing his newsletter blog for the school website after attending the 'Big Bang Fair' (UK National STEM Competition) on Day one…
“Picture the scene: a large exhibition hall the size of four football pitches is inundated with children, teachers, sponsors and the media.
The children have come to learn about science. They can talk to one robot and program another; they can learn about the physics of the free kick and they can make ‘intelligent’ bacteria; they can learn about the science of sleep and the sustainability of the eco-classroom.
The sponsors and the media are here to promote STEM, which stands for Science Technology, Engineering and Maths. The event is the ‘Big Bang’ fair, the finals of the UK National Science and Engineering Competition 2016.
There is a boy in a wheelchair who has come for the day. He cannot see up, over or through the crowds which congregate at each display stand. His grandmother can sense his frustration and irritation because he feels excluded.
Then they stumble across a 14 foot chrome vehicle (looking a lot like a 1929 Ford Sedan Delivery – think 1920s Chicago Bootleggers!) with a particularly low chassis and huge rear wheels. The hydraulic gull-wing doors open and the boy is invited to move straight from his wheelchair to the driver’s seat. His face lights up, of course!
‘This car is for you’. He is told. ‘It has been built so that people in wheelchairs can take part in a really good hobby – Hot Rods & Drag Racing.’
‘And it’s built entirely from scrap and recycled materials, so it’s also ‘eco- friendly’ - even with a huge V8 engine!
The boy is more interested in the fact that the 4 speed transmission is automatic and electronically controlled and that, as he learns, he is peering out over a Lexus LS400 engine and sitting just in front of the adapted axle of a 1969 Jaguar XJ.
Still grinning, the boy gets back into his wheelchair and pledges that he is going to come to a Hot Rod Show in the summer to learn more about his new interest and possible hobby...
This particular boy’s new found aspiration was made possible by the work of the OSH Stem team: Rogan & Stuart. In just on three months they built, from scrap, a hot rod for a disabled driver.
Rogan’s younger brother, David, was the inspiration for this project.”