Spare Parts

by

Joshua Davis

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Fredi Lajvardi Character Analysis

The teacher and advisor for the robotics club at Carl Hayden. Fredi grew up as an Iranian immigrant and was often made fun of and even beaten up in high school, particularly during the Iranian revolution and the taking of hostages in the American embassy in Iran. In high school, Fredi’s parents expect him to become a doctor, but with the help of his own science teacher, Ann Justus, Fredi realizes that he’s meant to be a teacher. Fredi’s classroom philosophy is based on hands-on learning, getting the kids to learn by making science fun. Fredi also becomes very invested in afterschool programs for the kids. Even with a wife and two children with special needs, Fredi dedicates a lot of time to the robotics club, particularly in taking Lorenzo under his wing and giving him a sense of belonging in the club. With Allan Cameron, Fredi encourages the students to think outside the box when building their robot, allowing them to go far beyond what they ever thought they could achieve and win the competition. After the 2004 MATE competition, the robotics team grows even larger and Fredi continues to achieve success with many subsequent years of students.

Fredi Lajvardi Quotes in Spare Parts

The Spare Parts quotes below are all either spoken by Fredi Lajvardi or refer to Fredi Lajvardi. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Farrar, Straus and Giroux edition of Spare Parts published in 2014.
One Quotes

The music was part of his educational philosophy. Fredi had always focused on getting kids excited to learn.

Related Characters: Fredi Lajvardi
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

I've got to create something that doesn't compete with other science centers; it's got to compete with the World Series and the Super Bowl. I’ve got to find a way to make science and technology cool.

Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorenzo felt his father didn’t have any respect for him, Hugo wouldn’t let him use the tools in the driveway, and the kids around school mocked him for his strange looks. Now a teacher was entrusting him with the lives of a handful of fish. To most people, it might not seem like a lot, but to Lorenzo it was unprecedented.

Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:
Two Quotes

The whole point was to give the guys a chance to accomplish something beyond what they thought possible. But if they showed up at the event and failed utterly, it would only reinforce the impression that they didn't belong in the contest in the first place. That could leave a kid such as Lorenzo with a permanent sense of inferiority.

Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:

For Lorenzo, the robotics team was like a new family. In some respects, Fredi and Allan were surrogate parents, constantly advising him and pushing him to do better. […] A team spirit had developed. Lorenzo wasn't the only one sitting in the front row of his classes.

Page Number: 113
Explanation and Analysis:

To Fredi, this was a battle for the future of an unusual but talented kid. He appreciated Lorenzo's offbeat ideas and felt that the long-haired goofball had genuine talent. But Lorenzo was caught in the tractor-beam pull of poverty and low expectations.

Page Number: 116
Explanation and Analysis:

Fredi was impressed. It was a practical, cheap, and ingenious solution. […]

“You did it,” Fredi said, clapping Lorenzo on the shoulder.

Lorenzo responded with a big smile. “I did it.”

Related Characters: Lorenzo Santillan (speaker), Fredi Lajvardi (speaker), Oscar Vazquez, Cristian Arcega
Related Symbols: Stinky the Robot
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:
Three Quotes

It reminded them that they were doing something they had never done before. In Phoenix, they were called illegal aliens and pegged as criminals. They were alternately viewed as American, Mexican, or neither. Now, for a moment, they were simply teenagers at a robotics competition by the ocean.

Related Symbols: Stinky the Robot
Page Number: 158
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Spare Parts LitChart as a printable PDF.
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Fredi Lajvardi Character Timeline in Spare Parts

The timeline below shows where the character Fredi Lajvardi appears in Spare Parts. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
One
Mentorship Theme Icon
Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure Theme Icon
Cristian then meets Fredi Lajvardi, the program manager of the marine science program. At the beginning of every class,... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Immigration, Prejudice, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
Fredi focuses on getting kids excited to learn, caring less about covering the required curriculum. When... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
...he needs to find something else to do with himself. So, he signs up for Fredi’s marine science class. (full context)
Immigration, Prejudice, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Davis describes Fredi’s own journey to the United States. Fredi is born in Tehran, Iran, in 1965. His... (full context)
Immigration, Prejudice, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Reza and Tooran follow jobs to Phoenix in 1969. Fredi starts elementary school and speaks English both there and at home—his parents want him and... (full context)
Immigration, Prejudice, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Back in Phoenix, Fredi feels at home, until revolution erupts in Iran and hostages are taken at the American... (full context)
Mentorship Theme Icon
Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure Theme Icon
Fredi doesn’t tell his parents what had happened, instead focusing on running and his other outlet,... (full context)
Mentorship Theme Icon
Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure Theme Icon
Justus’s seminar is structured much like Fredi’s will come to be: with an emphasis on hands-on learning and building things. With Justus’s... (full context)
Mentorship Theme Icon
To Fredi’s parents, the hovercraft represents a distraction from his schoolwork. They want him to get a... (full context)
Immigration, Prejudice, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Fredi laughs off Justus’s statement, but by his sophomore year he finds that he can’t focus... (full context)
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Justus advises Fredi again that he should be a teacher. Fredi tries to argue why he shouldn’t be... (full context)
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In 1996, Fredi marries Pam Nuñez, the school psychologist. He coaches cross-country at the school and starts an... (full context)
Mentorship Theme Icon
Soon after the diagnosis, Fredi’s parents move out of the state, their relationship more strained than ever. Fredi has his... (full context)
Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure Theme Icon
Fredi sees a flyer about FIRST in 1999 and starts a small team at Carl Hayden... (full context)
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...ham-radio clubs in the nineties and then signs on to start a robotics team with Fredi in 2000. He doesn’t speak Spanish, but most of the kids he meets at Carl... (full context)
Mentorship Theme Icon
Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure Theme Icon
...show up are thrilled to be a part of it—including Michael Hanck, who had taken Fredi’s marine science class as a freshman and joined the team the same year. Michael suggests... (full context)
Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure Theme Icon
Cristian steps into Fredi’s classroom in May 2003, after the FIRST competition has already taken place that year. But... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
Cristian sees Lorenzo hanging around the lab and assumes he’s just another loud jokester. But Fredi sees that Lorenzo is simply a lost kid looking for a way to define himself.... (full context)
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
Fredi then invites Lorenzo to McDonald’s. Lorenzo is speechless: no one has ever taken him to... (full context)
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure Theme Icon
...with Michael Hanck, they begin to construct a massive catapult. As their designs grow outlandish, Fredi sees that the young students might need some leadership.  He mentions to Oscar, who is... (full context)
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
...annual pumpkin hurling contest hosted by the local pumpkin patch. The day before the contest, Fredi tells the group that they will leave at six the next morning. Lorenzo accidentally sleeps... (full context)
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
At the beginning of senior year, Luis enrolls in Fredi’s Marine Science Seminar, which is meant to be an opportunity for seniors to work independently... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure Theme Icon
In the summer of 2003, just before the start of the catapult project, Fredi and Allan travel to Monterey, California to learn more about a new robotics competition hosted... (full context)
Two
Mentorship Theme Icon
The group is daunted, but Oscar tries to be optimistic and motivational. Still, even Fredi and Allan are privately nervous: the tasks are difficult. They want to give the kids... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
...high school level. On the other hand, the Explorer class has teams like MIT competing. Fredi reasons that if they’re going to lose either way, they should be beat by college... (full context)
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
Fredi and Allan tell the kids of their plan. Oscar wonders why they want to go... (full context)
Immigration, Prejudice, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
...for building supplies, but the team is going to need a lot more than that. Fredi prints up brochures asking people to donate to the club. Lorenzo asks a cousin to... (full context)
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
...measure. Oscar pitches using a laser tape measure. Cristian asks if it would work underwater; Fredi suggests that they should call someone to find out. (full context)
Mentorship Theme Icon
...can read distance as far as 330 feet. They sell for $375 to $725 each. Fredi encourages Oscar to call anyway, just to ask for advice. (full context)
Mentorship Theme Icon
...he is having more fun in the robotics closet than doing his regular schoolwork. But Fredi minds. He explains to Lorenzo that if he doesn’t pass all of his classes by... (full context)
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
Spurred by Fredi’s rule, Lorenzo starts studying. He sits in the front row during class and does all... (full context)
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
In November, Fredi takes some of his marine science students, including Oscar and Luis, to see the ocean.... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
...seen it only briefly and have never been in it before. On the same trip, Fredi takes the students to SeaBotix, a San Diego-based ROV manufacturer, with the company president, Donald... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
...and Customs Enforcement. Luis has a green card, but Oscar is in the country illegally. Fredi asks for their school IDs and instructs them not to speak. An officer asks for... (full context)
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
For Lorenzo, the robotics team feels like family, with Fredi and Allan as surrogate parents. A team spirit has developed, and the rest of the... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
Fredi tracks Lorenzo down and tells him to stop fighting. He explains that he was beat... (full context)
Mentorship Theme Icon
Fredi tells Lorenzo that the next time someone wants to fight him, he should pretend to... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure Theme Icon
...and so it won’t add buoyancy. It expands and contracts easily and costs almost nothing. Fredi suggests using a sump pump to suction the fluid into the balloon. They find a... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure Theme Icon
...affixing the balloon in a variety of ways, but each time the balloon falls over. Fredi encourages him, and Lorenzo then tries to put the balloon inside the top half of... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Fredi suggests that Oscar and Luis consider trolling motors, which are used for fishing boats. They... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
...They connect the pieces and look back at their creation. It is slightly lopsided, but Fredi and Allan assure them it looks really good. (full context)
Immigration, Prejudice, and the American Dream Theme Icon
...Wilson High kids at Niagara Falls. She tells him he can’t go. Cristian is furious. Fredi calls Leticia, arguing that competing at the championship is a good way to lay the... (full context)
Mentorship Theme Icon
...cooking. Another school in West Phoenix offers a more robust cooking program, and Lorenzo tells Fredi that he’s thinking about transferring. Fredi suggests that he go to cooking school over the... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
...problem and marvels at the unusual crew filing into her facility: Cristian, Luis, Lorenzo, Oscar, Fredi, Allan, and Michael Hanck, who is there to help pilot the robot. (full context)
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
...hasn’t seen much of Michael lately. He struggled in school and enrolled in summer classes. Fredi and Allan told him that if he couldn’t get his grades above a B average,... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
...slamming into the pool wall. Cristian explains that it’s hard to see on the monitor. Fredi warns them to be careful: if they hit it too hard, they’ll crack the PVC. (full context)
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
...team starts to get more hopeful about their chances. But the day before their departure, Fredi and Allan announce that Michael will not be joining them, since he hasn’t gotten his... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
Fredi calls Lowe and asks if the pool is available that day. She tells them that... (full context)
Three
Mentorship Theme Icon
Back in the dorm room, morale is low. Fredi tells them they should get ready for their presentation and then they will have all... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
While the students complete their technical presentation, Allan and Fredi wait outside. Other students are in for at least forty-five minutes, and so when they... (full context)
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure Theme Icon
...superabsorbent to soak up the moisture. Lorenzo thinks about possible options and suggests a tampon. Fredi says it’s a perfect idea. (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure Theme Icon
...College. Now, everything will be determined by the scores they receive on their engineering review. Fredi and Allan can’t believe it, and they rush over to the kids, congratulating them. (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Teamwork, Friendship, and Motivation Theme Icon
...dinner, and is hosted by Bryce Merrill, a recruiting manager for an industrial ROV firm. Fredi and Allan try to temper the boys’ expectations. They expect that they’ll be in the... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
...“considering where they came from.” It signals to them that they did not get third. Fredi and Allan congratulate them, trying to look on the bright side. (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure Theme Icon
...get second. But they are really shocked when Merrill announces that MIT got second place. Fredi realizes that something amazing is about to happen. Merrill then announces that Carl Hayden has... (full context)
Curiosity, Creativity, and Adventure Theme Icon
...out into the ocean that they beat MIT. Allan tells them how proud he is. Fredi says that they are true “badasses.” The boys have never been happier. They take pictures... (full context)
Four
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Mentorship Theme Icon
...In 2007, the event is in Canada, effectively preventing undocumented students from attending. To compensate, Fredi and Allan start their own underwater-robotics competition. (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
...Between 2005 and 2010, the foundation spends $720,000 and sends twenty-three kids to college. Still, Fredi worries that many of the kids will have difficult lives even if they do graduate... (full context)
Underdogs and Overcoming Odds Theme Icon
Immigration, Prejudice, and the American Dream Theme Icon
Allan and Fredi urge Cristian to apply to MIT, but his family wants to keep him close and... (full context)
Immigration, Prejudice, and the American Dream Theme Icon
...including a copy of his ASU diploma and letters of support from Karla, Allan, and Fredi. He will get a decision back in seven to ten days. (full context)
Mentorship Theme Icon
Fredi still teaches at Carl Hayden and coaches the robotics team. The team continues to collect... (full context)