Record-breaking pilot urges students to soar

Barrington Irving insists he’s “nothing special” except for one thing: He refuses to give up.

That’s how he clawed his way up from an inner-city kid in Miami into a world-renown pilot who made a record-breaking flight around the world seven years ago. Ever since, Irving has urged young people to aim high as well.

“Never let anyone tell you it can’t be done,” he recently told about 550 high school students at Oxbridge Academy of the Palm Beaches. “Just be resilient.”

Irving, 31, a popular figure in South Florida aviation and education circles, at age 23 became the youngest person and only African American to fly solo around the globe, a 30,000-mile journey that took him to 27 cities, 13 countries and four continents in 2007.

It earned him a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records, prompted the U.S. House to pass a resolution in his honor and inspired pride throughout the Jamaican community.

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