School board member honors Whirly Girls


Whirly Girls fly drone that has a banner reading “Re-elect Matt Susin” attached to it

Cheers enveloped the crowd as the Whirly Girls flew their drone, with a banner reading “Re-elect Matt Susin” attached to it.

On Thursday evening, five of the varsity Whirly Girls attended an event part of the re-election campaign for Matt Susin, the Brevard County School Board vice chairman.

“He texted me and said, ‘I’m having my re-election campaign’s first event, would the Whirly Girls be interested?” said Jill Whitacre, team coach and sponsor of the Whirly Girls.

The girls quickly agreed. Apparently, the drone team and Matt Susin have quite a history.

“He [Matt Susin] is the person at the district who initiated this whole drone thing.” Whitacre said. “He committed money from the district to do this.”

Susin gave money to several schools in the district in order for them to form STEM-related teams. According to Whitacre, if it hadn’t been for Susin, the drone program at West Shore would not exist. During the event, Susin spoke on how the Whirly Girls had taken the program to new heights and how he was looking forward to what they might do in the future.

According to varsity Whirly Girl Abby Hedrick, Susin was very happy her team attended. Hedrick reciprocated this gratitude.

“I feel very that honored that he invited us specifically since he could have invited other schools.” Hedrick said. “While we were there it was very nerve-racking because there were so many fancy and important people there. Overall, I was really glad we could go and help him with his campaign. I hope we will continue to be invited to important events like this.”

Whitacre said the reason she encouraged the girls to appear at the event was more to reflect the support that Susin had shown over the years rather than for the political side of the occasion.

She said she was grateful for the invitation and the recognition that Susin had given the program in the past.

“It was a tip of the hat to say that we were doing the right stuff here,” Whitacre said. “It isn’t about the accolades, but it’s nice to know that we are providing the opportunities that are recognized by people who know what STEM is.”

By Aytek Abdulla