Air organizations help Montgomery area schools

In times of educational budget cuts and concerns over academic relevance for future workforce development, local schools are being afforded the expertise and support of three area air-oriented organizations. The Montgomery Chapter of the Air Force Association (AFA) has joined hands with the National Headquarters of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and the Air University Foundation, both located at Maxwell Air Force Base, to provide area schools with free enrichment products and programs to supplement the standard curriculum. Throughout the school year, these organizations have provided aerospace education opportunities for teachers and students that will culminate in an awards program, airplane flights, and field trip experience this month.

Schools in the River Region have participated in the K-6 CAP Aerospace Connections in Education (ACE) Program, a grade level specific, aerospace-themed program that enhances science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-related curricula, character and career education, and physical fitness for living a healthy and drug-free lifestyle. All curriculum materials, resource person assistance, t-shirts, and educational learning aids were provided at no cost to the schools. Middle and high schools have been provided free copies of USA Today's Visions of Exploration newspaper program to promote STEM curricula and careers. And, Maxwell STARBASE teachers were offered the opportunity for free professional development experiences and educational products to perpetuate the aerospace knowledge learned while attending STARBASE this year.

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the first flight school at Maxwell AFB, area 4th graders were invited to participate in a research-based essay contest entitled "Montgomery's Aviation Heritage: The Impact of the First Flight School." In preparation for their future careers in education, Jeff Davis High School Teaching Academy students worked on an aerospace lesson plan development contest, with winning students teaching their lessons to Dannelly Elementary Students. And, on the 29th of April, all of these high school students will join elementary students from Flowers Elementary, Hayneville Road Elementary and Bear Exploration Center at Maxwell Air Force Base for an Aerospace Adventures Day from 9 a.m. to noon. During this exciting day, Maxwell Officer Training Students (OTS) and the 908th Airlift Wing will assist the air organizations in conducting a historical tour, aerospace activities, and career exploration presentations to further the knowledge and understanding of the part the Wright Brothers played not only in Montgomery and Alabama's aerospace history, but that of the future aerospace supremacy of our country.

Thursday, April 8th, will be a special day for the winners of these contests, as well as their teachers and principals. Student and teacher/principal teams from Bear Exploration Center, Jeff Davis High School, Flowers Elementary, and Dannelly Elementary will take to the skies in reward for their excellent work in the contests and programs conducted in the past several months. At 1:00, at Montgomery Aviation, next to Dannelly Airport, the teams will gather for award presentations, cash prizes, plaques, praise, and of course, orientation flights in Cessna airplanes courtesy of the Alabama Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. CAP pilots from around the state will fly in to provide a learning experience that will take the students and teachers "out of the classroom, and into the sky."

For more information about these programs, community service of and membership in the Air Force Association, and/or membership and participation in youth and teacher development programs with the Civil Air Patrol, contact Susan Mallett at

Flight Experience Participants:
Bear Exploration Center, Principal Liz Hill
-Students KC House, Evan Mahone, and Elijah Weston: Teacher Kris White
-Students Rhys Zoldi, Garrett Garner, and Jon Eric Bodin: Teacher Lindsey Norred
Jeff Davis High School Teaching Academy, Principal Marie Kostick
-Students Kiarah Harris and Cheydall Grubbs: Teacher Rebecca Thomas
-Students Raven Acoff and Christie Hall: Teacher Julie Echols
Dannelly Elementary Principal, Emily Little
Flowers Elementary Principal, Ethel Barnes, and Teachers, Leah Meacham and Khalilah Hasan