WETUMPKA, AL (WSFA) - Wetumpka Elementary School's math and science program has reached new heights thanks to a key partnership, a partnership that helped kick-off the STEM program which stands for Science Technology Engineering and Math.
900 children gathered behind the school to catch a plane, an aircraft flown by a Civil Air Patrol pilot. The children saw and waved as the pilot who maintained an altitude of about 1,000 feet but had a different view. Below, the kids spelled out 'WES' short for Wetumpka Elementary School. It's all part of the new STEM program.
Tracy Wright, Administrative Assistant at Wetumpka Elementary School, broached the idea with his principal of partnering with Civil Air Patrol and so here we are. A new program that embraces science and math in a different way.
"It's something I wanted to share out, so from there we started a pilot program at Wetumpka Elementary School with STEM - problem based learning," said Wright.
"Everybody was screaming and hollering.. which was cool," said student Ashleynn Turner.
Turner admitted she's not sure if aviation is in her future but that's okay, according to school leaders. Part of the overall lesson is to encourage children to confront their fears head-on.
"We wanted the children to look up and see there are wonderful things in the air and in this world for them to do," said Susan Mallett, Youth Development Coordinator for Civil Air Patrol.
"We just thought this would be a great kick-off to get the kids really pumped up and some really good things for our community for the great town of Wetumpka," said school Principal Dr. Bonnie Sullivan.
Wright conceded himself he's not fond of flying in a small plane, but chose to fly today so to prove a point; fears can become opportunities to grow and expand.
"Passion for success outweighs your fear of failure," he said.
"No," Turner said with a little laughter.
As for Turner, she is far too young to really know what she wants to do when she grows up, but aviation or not, school and STEM leaders want her to know the sky's the limit.
The Civil Air Patrol is based in Montgomery and has been around since 1942. Its primary missions are emergency services, cadet programs and aerospace education.