STARBASE Oklahoma 2.0, Department of Defense, Duncan Middle School
As an instructor of electronics and aerospace technologies at Red River Technology center in Duncan, William A. Leyrer loves teaching high school students and young adults about electronics and how to build airplanes, rockets and drones.
Now he is sharing that passion with middle school students as a volunteer for STARBASE Oklahoma 2.O, an after-school program that combines STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities with a relationship-rich, school-based environment serving at-risk youth.
“As a teacher, William Leyrer truly believes that we cannot and should not wait until our technically minded students have begun their high school careers to excite and encourage them to pursue careers in STEM,” said David Stacey, deputy director of STARBASE Oklahoma. “He believes this process must begin in our elementary and middle schools. Beginning three years ago, he had the opportunity to serve as a mentor for the STARBASE 2.0 STEM program at Duncan Middle School. William is a positive role model and motivates the students in his 2.0 club. He always has kind and sincere words for everyone and jumps in whenever and wherever he is needed.”
Leyrer’s knowledge of rocketry and electronics has helped the STARBASE program enormously, Stacey said. Leyrer has used his own advance rocket launcher to shoot rockets with students. He taught participants to program and fly drones. He uses his knowledge of CO 2 cars to help students design, cut and build cars. Leyrer has even recruited his Technology Center students to volunteer for the program, helping to set up CO 2 tracks that enable students to race their cars.
“Words cannot express the value and the leadership experience this opportunity has afforded not only me, but also my electronics students, who have excitedly agreed to join me as a volunteer mentor each year,” Leyrer said. “It is such a joy to witness the combined growth and expressed ingenuity of our Cadets and the awesome progress in untapped leadership potential of the young men and women of our STARBASE 2.0 mentor team.”
Stacey praised Leyrer for this dedication to the program and his efforts to recruit his own career tech students as mentors. “William Leyrer has a passion for what he teaches, and when you can teach students and you can also get them to help mentor younger students, you are doing an amazing job. Our 2.0 program has been blessed to have him,” Stacey said.
About the Program: STARBASE 2.0 combines STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities with a relationship-rich, school-based environment serving at-risk youth in fifth through eighth grades. The program uses a team mentoring approach, pairing teams of three to four students with one adult mentor for four hours each month to focus on STEM projects, team-building and goal setting.