Introducing Lewis University Aerodynamics Class Instructor: Mr. Daudelin

Maximo Bunay '20, School News Editor

Saint Patrick High School offers many educational and enriching classes each year. This year, two new courses are being offered in partnership with Lewis University. These classes are Aerodynamics and Computer Science, which are taught by Lewis University professors.

Students in these classes receive high school and college credit. The only prerequisite is before taking the Lewis University Computer Science class you must have already taken the Computer Science class at St. Pat’s.

Since the professors come from Romeoville, Illinois, each class is only held once a week. Computer Science is held on Tuesdays periods D and E, and Aerodynamics on Thursdays during periods D and E. The students who take these courses have a study hall and/or lunch every other day they do not have their double-period class.

Both courses are held in the Incubator lab in the round building. I had the privilege of interviewing the Lewis University Aerodynamics instructor, Mr. Daudelin, to help introduce him to our school.

How did you first feel about teaching classes at Saint Patrick High School?

Honestly, I was a little hesitant, as I’ve never taught in such a formal setting before.  Most of my previous teaching experience was providing flight instruction, usually to older “students” (adults who wanted to learn to fly while still working in other careers).  Lewis University started offering college-credit aircraft maintenance classes to District 214 high school students last year, and it was thought that I might be able to help when flight instruction was also added to that curriculum.  But there have been delays in getting the flight training off the ground (pun intended!) so when Saint Patrick and Lewis agreed to provide the Aerodynamics class, Lewis asked if I’d be interested in teaching it.  And one thing I’ve learned in life is to never say never so the rest, as they say, is history.

How is taking the Aerodynamics course here at Saint Patrick High School different from taking the course online?

I think its biggest advantage is being able to get immediate answers to your questions.  Of course, you can get answers to your questions via the online course, but you have to type it out, send it off, then wait for a reply, then try to interpret the reply.  I understand the advantages of all the digital technologies available today, but I think there’s still a lot to be said for face-to-face communication for getting an idea clearly across between people.

What would you say to students who are debating whether or not to take the Aerodynamics course in the future?

If you have any interest at all, try it.  But I think that applies to anything.  You never know where it will lead.  For example, my senior year in high school here in the Chicago area, my school district established a vocational school.  It was called the DuPage Area Vocational Education Authority (DAVEA) and it offered various technical courses which students could attend for half a day during the week, and one of the classes was Aircraft Maintenance.  I knew absolutely nothing about aviation but it sounded interesting so a friend and I thought we’d give it a try.  And to be honest, I was looking for any excuse to get out of school!  Turns out we were in the very first class to ever attend DAVEA (it’s now called the Technology Center of DuPage (TCD) in Addison) and while we had very little in the way of equipment in the beginning, I found the subject interesting and the instructor (thank you Mr. Vanerka!) opened my eyes to possibilities.  And that led to a 40+ year career in the aerospace industry which has now led me to St. Patrick’s.  Also, see my answer to the last question below (I think it also applies here).

Have you tried the famous “Italian beef” here at our school yet, and if so, what are your thoughts on it?

I did try it, and I liked it, but it was a bit too spicy for me.

Do you have any additional comments or questions you’d like to make?

Don’t ever be afraid to question anyone or anything.  Don’t ever be afraid to try something new.  Even if it turns out that you don’t like whatever you tried, learning what you don’t like is just as important as learning what you do like.