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Saint Thomas Academy’s Westlake Named One of Disney’s 50 Magic Makers

Saint Thomas Academy announced today that Mark Westlake, innovation center director and moderator of the Experimental Vehicle Team, has been named one of Disney’s 50 Magic Makers for making protective face shields early in the Covid-19 pandemic and marshaling a network of fabricators across the country to supply health care workers and first responders with the personal protective equipment they lacked. As a Magic Maker, Westlake won an all-expenses-paid trip to Walt Disney World Resort for himself and his family Sept. 8-12.

According to the contest website, in honor of its 50th anniversary, “Disney wants to shine a light on all the countless acts of goodwill taking place in communities across the country and celebrate the individuals who make every day magic a reality. Magic moments come in all shapes and sizes, from simple, sincere acts between neighbors to massive acts of charity, kindness and generosity. What binds these special moments together is the way they raise spirits, inspire communities and connect people to one another.”

Nominee submissions are reviewed and scored by a panel of judges to determine finalists. The finalist entries are then reviewed and scored by a separate judging panel to determine the winners.

Westlake has been with Saint Thomas Academy since 1989. He founded the Experimental Vehicle Team in 1997 and has coached the team to 15 national championships, one international championship and numerous national records. He’s also supported student teams in NASA’s Microgravity University for Educators (MgUE) and the NASA Student Opportunities in Airborne Research (SOAR) programs. Westlake is a National Geographic Certified Teacher, a master teacher for the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam program, and has served as chairman of the advisory committee for the Solar Car Challenge. He is also a previous Space Educator of the Year, National Teacher of the Year for the Air Force Association and TEKNE Award winner.