Delta Academy students’ learning theme ‘Fast and Furious’

When nearly 100 middle school students from The Delta Academy visited SpeedVegas, an exotic-car racing track, they already knew about the complicated science of driving fast vehicles.

“We’ve done hands-on projects (relating to this), so now we get to see what we’ve been doing (in class),” 13-year-old Taliyah Roach said.

For nine weeks, the students learned about subjects such as velocity, acceleration and the law of momentum to prepare them for the end-of-the-quarter field trip, science teacher Austin Congleton said. It’s part of the school’s enrichment program, in which teachers select a theme each quarter that will be universal to each core subject (English, math, science and history), said Delta English teacher Lance Patterson.

“We wanted a program that was very educational, fun and that the kids would buy into,” he said. “(We also) wanted it to transcend in every area, so we selected certain themes that we like as teachers.”

The program, which started this school year, is exclusive to middle school students. At the end of the quarter, students who have behaved well and have no more than two absences are invited on the trip, Patterson said.

For this quarter’s theme, Patterson selected the film series “The Fast and the Furious.” In his class, Patterson focused on topics such as tone, conflict and theme. He also had his students write a screenplay that could be the next edition of the film series. Mary Congleton, a math teacher at Delta, selected the 1971 film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” for the first theme of the year and took the students to Ethel M Chocolate Factory.

Rosine Frangie, the director of partnerships at SpeedVegas, said Delta is the first school the business has hosted for a field trip.

During the visit, a SpeedVegas coach and operations trainer showed the students a video about driver safety, and allowed them to play video and other games in a play area and check out the exotic cars. For class, the students are working on a paper about the history of a vehicle of their choice. Many got to see the type of cars they are writing about, 14-year-old Jazmin Vargas said.

“I thought the drivers were just going to talk about (the cars). We didn’t know that we were actually going to see the cars and go (inside) them, so that was the best part,” the eighth-grader said. “This has been my favorite theme, because I like watching ‘The Fast and the Furious.’” Vargas said she plans to write a paper about the history of Lamborghinis.

Ky’Rie Ritchie, 12, said that her favorite part of the trip was learning how the speedway worked.

The field trip is more than just a free day away from school, Patterson said.

“Some of these kids may never have the chance to come here again,” he said. “Many of them are on free and reduced lunch. We like to expose them to society in general to give them a bigger picture. So this is something that they will probably remember for the rest of their lives.”

Next quarter, it will be Austin Congleton’s turn to coordinate a theme. He has chosen the 1998 film “A Bug’s Life” and said he plans to take the students to a zoo or Springs Preserve in February.

Contact Kailyn Brown at or 702-387-5233. Follow @kailynhype on Twitter.

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