TAKING FLIGHT: Pike County STEM students visit National Flight Center in Pensacola

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Students from Pike County Schools took a trip to the National Flight Center in Pensacola last week to learn about flight engineering, piloting and more. Students from 7th through 12th grades representing each school in the Pike County School system went on the three-day trip.

Pike County STEM Academy students from fifth through ninth grades traveled to Pensacola, Florida last week to participate in the Ambition Program offered by the National Flight Academy.  The Pike County School System took 43 students to the National Flight Academy to participate in a three-day STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) program designed to immerse already well-prepared students into real-life, practical application of STEM concepts. 

While at the National Flight Academy, the students participated in many activites, including: meteorology, aerodynamics, mathematics (time, speed, and distance), bathymetry, and physics (electro-magnetic spectrum and ballistics).  When asked to share about his favorite part of the experience, Tyler Lee, an eighth grade student from Goshen High School stated, “I really liked flying the simulators because they felt so realistic and it was fun. It was a one-of-a-kind experience like no other.”

On Tuesday, students attending the three-day program participated in a graduation ceremony. The students heard from special guest speaker, CDR Ryan Bernacchi, USN, commander of the Blue Angels Squadron based at the National Air Station in Pensacola. As a part of his address, Bernacchi encouraged students to study and work hard, use teamwork, and never give up.

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The STEM initiative is part of a series of specific programs designed to engage students in real-life learning situations that require the use of 21st century learning skills, including: critical thinking and problem solving, creativity and innovation, communication, collaboration, information and communication technology literacy, along with flexibility and adaptation. STEM students are engaged in hands-on learning every day helping to produce STEM graduates who have the skills necessary to become leaders of tomorrow in a STEM-based world.

The Pike County School System, along with various corporate and community sponsors helped to make the National Flight Academy opportunity a reality.  Current contributors include: Horn Beverage, KW Plastics, Pike County Economic Development Corporation, and Troy Cablevision. “If I had the opportunity to return, I would!” said seventh grade Banks Middle School student Phoenix Hussey. “It was the most fun, immersive experience and the best trip I have ever had!” The cost of sponsoring a child to participate is $350.  If you are interested in sponsoring future students to participate in the outstanding adventure, please contact Mr. Jeff McClure or Dr. Mark Head at 566-1850.