Evergreen ParkElementary School District 124

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SW fifth-graders enjoy Adopt-A-Pilot program

Fifth-grade education took flight at Southwest School.

The students in Mrs. Tara Daniher and Mrs. Christine Grebenor’s classes greatly enjoyed weekly visits from a Southwest Airlines pilot as part of the organization’s Adopt-A-Pilot program, which uses aviation-themed activities to provide a real-world perspective on students' studies.

Ken Davis spent four weeks at Southwest School leading lessons on aviation-related science, math, geography, career planning, and life values. He also spent time answering questions from students and keeping them up-to-date on his flight schedule so they could follow along throughout the month.

Daniher said that the students – and the teachers – really enjoyed the chance to interact with a pilot on a regular basis, and enjoyed tracking his flying schedule during the school days.

“Some students have never been on an airplane before, so they are learning a lot about planes, airports, and flying in general,” said Daniher, who got the idea to apply for the Adopt-A-Pilot program after hearing that Northwest fifth-grade teacher Allison Grazevich “adopted” a pilot last year. “We kept track of all of his miles that he has flown since he's been coming in.”

During the program students learned about how planes take flight, time zones, three-letter city codes, and how to dream about your future and plan for a successful career. It was Davis’ first time participating in the Adopt-A-Pilot program, and he said he had a great time interacting with the Southwest students.

“Most pilots, myself included, have a passion for aviation and are always ready to share that with others,” he said. “It's was special for me to see how excited and enthused the students were to learn about various aspects of flying. They asked some really intelligent questions. It was a lot of fun documenting my trips and answering all the questions the students had about the trip and different places I've been when I return.”