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New Horizons School Project
by Laura Barnett

Approximately two to three years ago I read an article in the San Jose Mercury Newspaper about a school in Capitola which helped homeless and underprivileged children. I was deeply touched by the article and continued to keep what I read that day in the back of my mind, knowing someday I would volunteer in one way or another. Last November, the television station KION in the Monterey Bay area featured a story about the students and the objective of the school. The light bulb went on and I thought what if the members of the Monterey Bay Chapter gave these students an opportunity to fly in an airplane New Horizon Students at the Airportwhen they might not otherwise have a chance to!

I introduced the idea to our chapter chairman, Donna Crane-Bailey, she in turn suggested I bring it up at the November meeting, where it was greeted with a lot of enthusiasm and we went from there. The initial call to the Director of the School, Jim Skinner, was also met with enthusiasm. Donna and I met with Jim after the first of the year and with suggestions from the school’s two teachers, we developed a plan to teach a short course on aeronautics. I now had a basic concept of what needed to be done and the planning began. What I did not know, would be just how much planning and preparation would be required to complete a project such as this. We searched the stores and the Internet for aviation related products to use in the classroom and came away with several great ideas to use.

The following excerpt is a brief description of the New Horizons School and its purpose: “The mission of New Horizons School is to provide a transitional school for homeless and underprivileged children. Our objective is to help the children escape the bonds of poverty and hopelessness by providing the education, life skills, values and caring environment which will empower them to successfully move into the mainstream of society.”

Carolyn Dugger, Donna Crane-Bailey, Laura Barnett & Pat YorkWhat do you think Donna Crane-Bailey, Carolyn Dugger, Pat York and I had in common while preparing for the New Horizons project? A mixture of excitement, stage fright and tired eyes from the long hours of preparation. What did the four of us gain after offering a three day course on flying and aeronautics to the students of the New Horizon School in Capitola? A sincere appreciation for the people and things we have in our lives and the ability to share our love of flying with those whose lives have been impacted by homelessness or other serious problems.

We began on March 8, 1999 with our presentation to the K-3rd grade students. As Donna said in the March 1999 newsletter we only have two and a half hours to teach the students about flying. We each introduced ourselves and while Donna was telling the students about herself and explaining how you can be any age to learn how to fly, one student asked how old she was. Donna told her, and was promptly greeted with a statement “My grandfather isn’t even that old!” We then realized we were in for the ride of our lives.Angelia & Carolyn

Our classroom agenda included viewing “The Magic School Bus—Taking Flight”, presentations on aerodynamics, communications, weather and history. Experiments included using small strips of paper to demonstrate the Bernoulli principle, whirly gigs to show how a propeller works, folding and flying paper airplanes (which by the way produced many talented pilots), using the phonetic alphabet, drawing a large compass on canvas to demonstrate north, south, east and west and trying on headsets to introduce a different way to communicate. The students were given diagrams of how an airplane is like a bird, of the four forces explaining how an airplane flies, coloring pages, a book mark and aviation word searches. The morning went quickly and day one was over.

New Horizon Student at the controlsWe gave the same presentation on Tuesday, March 9, 1999 modifying it for the older students in the 4th-6th grade class level. We were greeted with a whole new level of questions from the students and a building excitement with the anticipation of an airplane ride on Wednesday. Again, the day went by quickly, and we were already talking about how to modify the presentation for our next teaching adventure.

It was now Wednesday, and the students arrived at the airport ready for their flights. With each plane load of students departing and then arriving we were witnessing permanent smiles on their faces, and quotes like “that was so cool,” “I could see my house” or “all the people look like ants."

One student said proudly “I faced my fears.” The teachers, director and staff were all treated to a flight as well. In the meantime, while the students were waiting for their turns, the airport provided them with styrofoam airplanes to try out and a few had a chance to visit the communications room inside the terminalGabrielle & Alex building. After the rides were completed, we walked over to Gabrielle Adelman’s hangar for a look at the Kitfox she built, (painted as a dragon) and to view her other aircraft.

We ended the day with lunch being donated to the students by Zuniga’s restaurant and the presentation of first flight certificates along with Polaroid photos of the students landing and emerging from the plane taken by Sandie David . I know we left a favorable impression on the students at the New Horizons School and I am reminded of the quote from the author Alfred Mercier, “What we learn with pleasure we never forget!” I am also grateful for the lesson in compassion I have learned from the students of the New Horizons School!

The New Horizons School is participating in Campbell’s Labels For education to acquire a new 15 seat passenger van for transporting students to and from school and field trips. The school needs over 1,000,000 labels from various food companies such as Campbell’s soups, Swanson’s broth, Franco American, Pace Picante Sauce, Pepperidge Farm etc. If you would like more information on this program and a complete list of qualifying labels, please contact me.

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