Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

November 23, 2012

Teacher wins national aerospace education award

Jim McCarter puts his $5,000 winnings back into Sycamore classroom.

A Sycamore Elementary School teacher and self-proclaimed “science nerd” recently received national recognition for his classroom lessons on space and flight technology.

Jim McCarter received this year’s Scott Crossfield Aerospace Education National Teacher of the Year Award.

“I was famous for a few moments in time and space,” McCarter said during his acceptance speech at the 2012 National Aviation Hall of Fame Enshrinement ceremonies.

“Sadly, I had to come home to do recess duty,” he later added, with a laugh.

Only one teacher in the United States receives the award each year.

It was established in 1986 by research test pilot Scott Crossfield, the first man to successfully fly at speeds above Mach 2 and Mach 3 and the first man to fly the X-15.

Crossfield’s award recognizes teachers in kindergarten to 12th grades for outstanding achievements in aerospace education.

Nominations are examined by a review committee of aerospace industry and education professionals who look at a teacher’s effectiveness, creativity and ability to maintain high standards for their students and themselves, according to the website for the award.

Charley Hinkle, who was principal at Sycamore Elementary for years, was not surprised to hear McCarter was being honored.

“He is an amazing educator,” Hinkle said. “He has put so much time into creating an excitement about aerospace. He’s very good at engaging students in activities that are hands on.”

McCarter is always doing space-related projects with students and integrating other subjects into those projects. His whole class participates in a mock space mission every year, Hinkle said.

McCarter solicited the help of an electrical engineer to develop a space shuttle, a replica of the Mars Rover and a robotic arm that can be used in his classes.

“One of the most important things a teacher can have is enthusiasm and a love for what they do,” Hinkle said. “You can see that and feel that with Jim. He is a great asset to this corporation.”

Kokomo-Center School officials said McCarter’s award came with a $5,000 cash stipend that McCarter could use however he wanted. He chose to put it back into his classroom.

He bought a refrigerator for his classroom and supplies for his LEGO League robotics team. Some of the money will fund his classroom space shuttle missions, he said.

McCarter told the aviation dignitaries and business leaders at the awards ceremony that their support of education was making a difference in students’ lives. Their work inspires kids in his class.

“I explained to the aviation community that kids who want to be in your classroom are going to show up, have good behavior and are going to learn something,” McCarter said.  “Astronauts and other aviators were the bait on my hook to help students learn.”

McCarter said he is inspired by astronauts and aviators, too.

During his awards presentation he got to meet five astronauts he’s followed through the years, like Eileen Collins, the first female shuttle commander, and Dick Rutan, who was on the first non-stop and unrefueled flight around the world.

He also had breakfast at Orville and Wilbur Wright’s home. He said he saw their circular shower and special bread cutter.

“People forget the Wright brothers were inventors,” he said. “Many other people were flying, but the Wright brothers invented banking, which allows the plane to turn. Their 1905 flyer could do Figure 8s, which made it the first practical flying machine.”

While earning the award was nice, McCarter said he was most touched by the outpouring of messages he’s received from former students who wanted to congratulate him on the award.

One of those messages was read during the November Kokomo-Center board meeting. It was from Natalie Boger, who graduated in 2010.

“I am now a junior at Purdue University studying biomedical engineering, and to this day, Mr. McCarter is among my all-time favorite teachers,” Boger wrote. “I appreciated the individual attention and care Mr. McCarter gave to each student.  I truly felt that Mr. McCarter believed in me. He played a great role in shaping not only my character, but also my career.  He definitely deserves these teacher awards.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Two face attempted murder for Wednesday shooting Kokomo police arrested two men on attempted murder charges stemming from a Wednesday afternoon shooting in the area of South Union and Harrison streets. No one was injured. Officers converged on the area about 3:30 p.m. to numerous reports of shots f

    April 24, 2014

  • 2nd UPDATE: 1 found dead after apartment fire near Purdue

    Authorities say one person was found dead after a fire that badly burned an apartment building where many Purdue University students live near the campus.

    April 24, 2014

  • Art FOr the Sky Wallace School hosts Indiana’s first Art for the Sky project From the ground, the crowd gathered at Wallace School of Integrated Arts on Wednesday seemed like nothing more than people in colorful T-shirts standing in odd groups. But with "sky sight," the formation took on the large-scale image of a paint palet

    April 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • City acquires more right of way for Nickel Plate Trail extension The city of Kokomo acquired another piece of land for the construction of the Nickel Plate Trail in its quest to extend the trail from county line to county line. The city's Board of Public Works and Safety approved a recreational trail easement that

    April 24, 2014

  • County residents speak out against wind energy As debate continues over the construction of wind turbines in Howard County and its neighbors, residents are turning up the heat on officials in an effort to stop development in the southeast corner of the county. Concerned citizens spoke out during

    April 24, 2014

  • Driver in fatal hit and run on Center Road pleads guilty The driver of a truck involved in an August hit-and-run crash that killed a 13-year-old boy could get as much as seven years behind bars if a judge accepts his plea. Randall K. Rector, 58, pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a crash resulting in d

    April 24, 2014

  • TUFF CURBS Locals upset over Markland curb plans Plans to eliminate left-hand turns along the city's busiest business corridor caused a major uproar Tuesday. Business owners, city officials and state legislators spent much of Tuesday and Wednesday on the phone protesting to Indiana Department of Tr

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police reports Howard County Arrests Tuesday, 4:34 p.m., police arrested Alisha Whitt, 27, 500 block of South Washington Street, at that residence, on a parole violation. Tuesday, 6:21 p.m., police arrested a 15-year-old male in the 400 block of West Sycamore Stree

    April 24, 2014

  • Eastern to move forward with $2M renovation to jr./sr. high school GREENTOWN -- Renovations at Eastern Sr./Jr. High will continue this summer after the board of education on Tuesday approved spending another $2 million on the final stage of upgrades. There will be no net impact on taxes, which has been a priority fo

    April 24, 2014

  • Volunteers still helping tornado victims Back in March, volunteers set out to inform tornado-ravaged neighborhoods there is still help out there. The small group of volunteers, part of the Long Term Recovery Team, took to the streets of the worst areas hit by the Nov. 17 tornadoes, passing

    April 24, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents Obama Reassures Japan on China Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Bigger Riders Means Bigger Horses Out West Yankees Pineda Ejected for Pine Tar Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.