By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, November 21, 2016, US Representative Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) praised high school teacher Brian Copes and his students in the SKY program.
Congressman Gary Palmer said in a statement, “Congratulations to Thompson High School teacher Brian Copes and his students and the many volunteers with the SKY (Skilled Knowledgeable Youth) program who have invested in the lives of people throughout Honduras. I spent time with Brian and his class at Thompson High School to see the remarkable work they are engaged in, and the premier of the film “You Can Change The World” showcases the way Copes has challenged his students to apply their classroom projects to real-world problems, where they designed and built prosthetic limbs, basic utility vehicles, and a hydroelectric power plant made from salvaged automobile parts that gives people in these remote villages greater access to medical care, clean water, and education. But it didn’t just stop with the design and build phase. Copes took a team to Honduras for the hands-on experience of implementing their program. The trip also established a sister schools program between Alabaster City Schools and Jutiapa schools in Honduras. Programs like this are one of the many things that make Alabama’s Sixth District a wonderful place to call home.”
Brian Copes was named Teacher of the Year in 2012 by People Magazine. He teaches pre-engineering. He and his SKY students have designed and built prosthetic limbs for amputees in Honduras and developing countries from readily available Toyota Corolla parts. Copes has also been named Environmental Teacher of the Year by the Environmental Education Association of Alabama.
According to their website, ‘Sky – Skilled Knowledgeable Youth program (501c3) exposes youth to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) projects that will enhance their abilities through challenging projects that interest them in engineering and skilled trade jobs. These activities may be conducted in-school, after school and/or on weekend classes. The participants will be middle and/or high school students developing hands-on skills in a variety of activities that simulate industry practices to include academic skills and job readiness/employability skills when the projects(s) are completed. SKY has been the catalyst in the promotion and development of engineering projects for the Calera High School engineering program to include creating career paths. Because of the success at Calera, SKY is expanding its mission to encompass other schools throughout Alabama.’
To learn more about the SKY Program and to preview the film go to their website: www.skyyouth.org
Congressman Gary Palmer represents Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District. Palmer was recently elected to his second term in the US Congress.
(Original reporting by the Alabama Media Group’s Marie Leech contributed to this report)