NPR talks to Memphis' Wooddale 'Fly Boys' ahead of rocket contest

scrocket1.jpg NPR follows up today on one of the true feel-good stories out of Memphis so far this year. Recall the Wooddale High School "Fly Boys," two top-notch students in the school's aviation program who won the chance to compete in the elite nationwide Team America Rocketry Challenge, which takes place this weekend in Washington. Darius Hooker and Wesley Carter beat out thousands of other hopefuls to earn a berth in the competition, but they and their school lacked the money to pay for the trip to Washington and back in time for graduation. Sure enough, though, Memphis came through with donations to support these two impressive young men, their sponsors and classmates on their quest.

Here are some excerpts from Hooker and Carter's chat with NPR's Michel Martin; transcript and audio available here.

MARTIN: I'm imagining that being in the rocket club, particularly when you were younger guys, was probably like being in the glee club, not the coolest. I don't know. So I just wanted to ask - did you ever have that experience and how did you, you know, overcome the usual?

HOOKER: My ninth and 10th grade year, to be honest - yeah. We were counted like the outcasts of the whole thing. My 11th and 12th grade year, me and Wesley kind of turned that around 100 percent. We were like the guys on campus. We are what's happening and, I mean, people see that we have things going for ourselves, so everybody wants a piece of what's going on. I didn't let anybody's worries get me down. I always knew what I was waking up to go to school for at the end of the day.

MARTIN: Wesley, what about you?

CARTER: We came in our ninth grade year and we would sit in class and, you know, everybody would be like, oh, hey, Darius - or hey, Wesley, can you give us the answers to this, this, this? And we would be completely nice about it, but once we got out of class, we had no friends at all, so me and Darius had to keep each other up.

PICTURED: Wooddale High School seniors Wesley Carter (left) and Darius Hooker, show off the rocket that qualified their team to go to Washington DC for the finals of the Team America Rocketry Challenge.


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