MCC-Maple Woods ‘Common Read’ events feature robotics instructor, who helped change lives

This semester, several classes at Metropolitan Community College-Maple Woods have been reading, discussing and writing about “Spare Parts” by Joshua Davis.

The book, which is the campus’ 2017 “Common Read” selection,  is a non-fiction account about an underdog high school robotics team from Phoenix, Ariz. who won a prestigious national competition, defeating college teams like Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Now MCC students, faculty, staff and the community have the opportunity to meet one of the key players in the team’s success.

One of the highlights of two weeks of special programming surrounding the “Common Read” will be a trio of presentations by Fredi Lajvardi, one of the two teachers who sponsored the Phoenix team.

MCC-Longview English instructor Mike Warren heads up the “Common Read” program and is excited that Lajvardi will give faculty and staff a chance to learn how the teachers at the Arizona school have continued to help their students stay motivated to continue their education.  “It’s a terrific opportunity to learn from one of the best,” says Warren.

Lajvardi was one of two teaching sponsors of the Carl Hayden High School’s Robotics Team that won the Marine Advanced Technology Education competition against an array of colleges and universities.

Warren says, “Those who’ve read “Spare Parts” know that the students on the robotics team succeeded in spite of some of the same challenges faced by our own students at MCC-Maple Woods, including living below the poverty line and speaking limited English.”

“His efforts to encourage teamwork and inspire creativity are a valuable model in any discipline—especially the STEM fields,” adds Warren.

The other “Common Read” presentations are designed to help understand all of the important aspects of the book.

Here are the scheduled events and the audiences invited:

Monday, April 17

  • Featured speaker: Fredi Lajvardi
    •  9 a.m.: Student Presentation, MCC-Maple Woods Campus Center 110, all students welcome
    • 2 p.m.: Faculty presentation, MCC-Maple Woods Campus Student Center 132, MCC faculty
    • 7 p.m.: Community presentation, Woodneath Library, 8900 N.E. Flintlock Rd, Kansas City, Mo., all community members welcome
“Once you take out the misconceptions in what you can or can’t do, anything is possible. If a student is interested, they will want to learn the material.” — Fredi Lajvardi

Friday, April 21

  • Robotics presentation (presenter: Dan Justice)
    • 10-10:50 a.m.: MCC-Maple Wood Learning Resources 158, all welcome

Monday, April 24

  • Spare Parts movie screening
    • 11 a.m.-1 p.m.: MCC-Maple Woods Campus Center 104, all MCC students welcome, limited seating available

Tuesday, April 25

  • J. C. Nichols and the Planning of Kansas City (presenter: Bill Worley)
    • 12:30-1:30 p.m.: MCC-Maple Woods 132, all welcome

Wednesday, April 26

  • DACA Presentation (presenter: Jessica Jasso, Hispanic Development Fund)
    • 2 p.m.: MCC-Maple Woods Campus Center 101, all welcome

Thursday, April 27

  • MCC-Maple Woods Library Book Club Discussion
    • 2:30 p.m.: MCC-Maple Woods Student Center 132, all welcome

For more information about the “Common Read,” contact Mike Warren at