He drove into the parking lot of Wheeler High School one more time, thinking he was there to do what he had done for the past eight years—support students and celebrate school successes. Taze Lamb thought he was at the school to celebrate the ribbon cutting for Wheeler’s new Ed-SPLOST funded Robotics Center and cheer on the students headed to the international robotics competition.
He did not know the ceremony included a surprise, a surprise to honor him, and how he has continued to serve, support, and impact Wheeler students even after his own children graduated.
Mr. Lamb started volunteering at Wheeler during Engineering Week, introducing students to some of the opportunities for engineers in the industry. He later started mentoring the school’s robotics team in 2016 when his son joined Wheeler’s STEM Magnet program. His role as mentor evolved into a guest lecturer for the school’s aerospace engineering class, where he shared his talent and passion for engineering during the spring semester.
“When my daughter founded the Aerospace Club at Wheeler, and my son founded the Universe Explored program of STEM outreach, I began to look at other ways to engage students in aerospace engineering. I volunteered to assist the school with developing the curriculum and teaching a new aerospace class,” the dedicated parent volunteer said.
When Mr. Lamb is not inspiring students at Wheeler, the father of two works as a manager in the Facilities Engineering group at Lockheed Martin.
“Working with students in the aerospace engineering class gives me a unique opportunity to recognize students who have a true desire and drive to pursue aerospace engineering,” Mr. Lamb explained. “I usually extend offers to those exceptional students to mentor them in their senior projects.”
Wheeler students describe the dedicated volunteer as a great mentor and teacher. They look forward to the days when Mr. Lamb steps into their classroom and praise him for what they have learned. Wheeler parents say he “embodies the spirit of volunteerism.”
Jonah Isaza first met Mr. Lamb when the class was remote, but the Wheeler student could still see the volunteer’s passion.
“It’s infectious, and I could really tell that even while I was a virtual student. From there, I went on to intern with him my senior year,” Jonah said. “He has been a great mentor to me, even outside of the internship project. He’s given me career advice, all that sorts of things.”
Jonah is planning to pursue aerospace engineering just like Wheeler’s longtime volunteer.
Although Jonah was already leaning toward aerospace engineering before hearing Mr. Lamb’s first lecture, time in Mr. Lamb’s class helped cement Jonah’s decision. Mr. Lamb made the class fun, and Jonah appreciated the volunteer’s teaching method and what he was able to learn.
“Even more than just the technical skills, he’s taught me about what it looks like to really give back to your community because he doesn’t have to come [to Wheeler] and do this, and yet, he still does. That’s really taught me kind of a passion for helping people and giving them the opportunities that he gave me and really just kind of expanding that into the future.”
That is one of Mr. Lamb’s goals when he steps into a Wheeler classroom or spends time mentoring students.
“It’s not only the technical part of it. It’s helping the students develop as leaders, as mentors themselves, and as people,” Mr. Lamb explained. “You teach them a lot about being leaders. You teach them a lot about growth and help them realize where they want to go. On the technical side, you help them to mature in their vision of what they want to be when they grow up to be engineers themselves.”
After the students graduate from Wheeler, Mr. Lamb continues to find opportunities to mentor them, encouraging them to step up as mentors too. He brings the students back to Wheeler so they can mentor the younger versions of themselves.
“It’s a very powerful thing to have a student who is in high school look at somebody who’s in college and say, ‘I can be like that,’ and hear from them,” revealed Mr. Lamb. “Of course, the students who are now in college coming back and mentoring are continuing to develop their leadership skills as they grow in their career paths as well.”
One of Mr. Lamb’s first students at Wheeler is now in college and recalled his first day in the aerospace class.
“Mr. Lamb started telling us about how this class would be formatted and discussed a semester-long research paper into any aerospace topic of our choosing,” Anmol Prakash said. “His enthusiasm for teaching and getting to know us was quite astounding. I remember looking forward to every Friday when Mr. Lamb taught the class in person. He made sure everyone understood the topics and kept us interested in the content we learned.”
After learning the basics of flight, Mr. Prakash and his classmates in Edward Quinlan’s aerospace class began working on their research, and Mr. Lamb researched each student’s topic so he could help every student in the class. The former Wheeler student approached Mr. Lamb about his required senior internship. Of course, the Wheeler volunteer was happy to serve as a mentor and helped the Wheeler student design a project that would benefit the school. The two worked to rebuild the school’s wind tunnel.
“Mr. Lamb even set up two meetings where his Lockheed colleagues talked with me about the ins and outs of wind tunnels and designing aircraft,” the Wheeler graduate said. “He also helped develop my knowledge in the aerospace field further, as well as my soft skills such as communication. Mr. Lamb has been a great teacher and mentor to me.”
Mr. Lamb’s experience with his own children spurred him to help other students looking to explore the world of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM.)
“[The students] also help me, as they inspire me with their thoughts and questions to go beyond my sphere and make me a better engineer. I have always held the credo: ‘If you truly want to know you understand something, then teach.’ If you can break it down and allow others to understand, you have truly mastered it,” Mr. Lamb explained.
Mr. Lamb’s willingness to step in as a teacher and mentor for students at Wheeler is why the school community recognized him at the school’s ceremony for the new Robotics Center.
Other Wheeler parents know that Mr. Lamb is offering students a unique and unparalleled opportunity to learn about aerospace engineering, explore real-life applications of the subject matter, explore careers in STEM fields, and enhance their communication and interpersonal skills.
“Through his teaching and mentoring, he has inspired a new generation of students to pursue aerospace engineering,” praised Stephanie Busch with the Wheeler Magnet Foundation. “Wheeler High and the Wheeler STEM Magnet Program are fortunate to have parent and community volunteers, like Mr. Lamb, who give their time and talents to enhance the educational opportunities for our students. We are also thankful for corporations in Cobb County, like Lockheed Martin, that have strong corporate social responsibility commitments and encourage employees to give back to STEM programs and the community.”