Joshua Davis, journalist, storyteller and author of the first year read, Spare Parts visited Hood’s campus on Oct 21. Joshua Davis’ comical anecdotes engaged the audience from the very beginning of his talk. He spoke of graduating from college with an economics degree and being in debt. He also talked about how he went to the U.S. arm wrestling championships on a whim and ended up coming in 4th place (out of four competitors).
He discovered journalism after a colleague told him that he should tell his arm wrestling story to a magazine; he hasn’t looked back since. Davis has traveled all over the world to investigate different stories including Iraq in 2003, which lead to his job at Wired magazine.
Davis’ proceeded to tell the audience about the press release he got from Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, AZ in early 2005 about their underwater robotics team. The team consisted of Cristian Arcega, Luis Aranda, Lorenzo Santillan and Oscar Vazquez; four undocumented high school students had beat MIT and won the Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Competition which was sponsored by NASA and the Navy.
Fredi Lajvardi, the mentor to the students, exclaimed to Davis that no media had covered their amazing feat. Davis’ explained how he went to Carl Hayden in 2005 and witnessed the magnitude of what the four boys did. He explained that the boys’ decision to go to the competition in Santa Barbara, even with the risk of being caught and deported, ultimately helped create the argument of immigrant rights in the U.S. He said that the reason he wanted to tell the story of the boys at Carl Hayden Community High School because he could tell that the robot they had created gave the boy’s lives meaning and the fact that the “American Dream” is not an easily achievable feat.
Davis’ spoke about the boys struggles in life after winning the Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Competition. The boys struggled to achieve their goals of going to college and joining the army. Simply because they had won the competition didn’t mean they now had more opportunities. They were still undocumented. Though they struggled, all four boys ended up getting on their feet by 2015; it just took them longer to do it.
Joshua Davis closed with the fact that we should put ourselves out there and step out of our comfort zone. He said our decisions, like the four boys decision to go to Santa Barbara for the competition, can have ripple effects that effect our lives one way or another.
Read Spare Parts by Joshua Davis to learn more about Cristian Arcega, Luis Aranda, Lorenzo Santillan and Oscar Vazquez and their journey to The Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Compeition.