Good afternoon. My name is Beth Cohen. I am an elementary STEM teacher with the Cherry Creek Schools and proud and honored to be an Envoy for the Wings Over the Rockies Teacher Flight Program.
On a Friday afternoon in June of 2013 an email appeared in my inbox inviting me to take a flight in a 1940s Stearman biplane. And to join the Teacher Flight Program.
I had never been a big fan of flying but have always been a big fan of new experiences.
Something struck me within that email. It was much more than an invitation to take a flight in a historic plane, it was an invitation to opportunity. To possibility. To bringing experiences never before imagined to my students. And for that (and the chance to look a bit like Amelia Earhart during a 20 minute flight).
I accepted the invitation.
There are lessons that cannot be taught but are learned through the sharing of experiences.
The Teacher Flight Program provides Envoys with a remarkable amount of curriculum materials and resources to educate children in aviation and aerospace.
But most importantly, it is the experiences.
The experiences that cause the eyes of a 5 year old to open up wide and say “ I want to be an airplane driver like Sean D.Tucker and do really cool tricks!” Or the insightful mind of an 10 year old to open up and think, “Sean D. Tucker inspires me to be nice to everyone and not get hit really hard in football and makes me want to try no matter what.”
As mentors to our students, through this program we are able to bring to them experiences which offer an education not only in aviation and aerospace but in humanity,
In pursuing our dreams and recognizing the importance and beauty of exploring the unexplored.
My students have had the most memorable and life changing opportunities through this program.
They have created time capsule replicas of the gold phonograph records that traveled on the Voyager to be a part of the 2013 annual Gala.
They were thrilled to have their letters of excitement, support and encouragement travel with Amelia Earhart on her flight this past year.
Seeing photos of their teacher with astronaut Eileen Collins and hearing stories of my time shared with Eileen as well as with Buzz Aldrin during our study of space caused jaws to drop and hearts to soar.
And most recently learning about Sean D. Tucker and building models of his biplane which were a part of the gala honoring Sean just a few weeks ago.
“Ms. Cohen…our planes were right next to Sean D. Tucker’s airplane!!! Did he really hold MY plane???!!!”
Imagine for a moment being these children. Being 5,6,7,8,9 years old and not only learning about living history and your heroes but being able to touch them in some way. To connect. Imagine the dreams you could dream and the reality you could one day create.
It is because of the Teacher Flight program that these dreams can one day be much more than a dream. For the children touched by this program, they can be a reality. A reality possibly never imagined without the program.
And for that and so much more, my students and I are so very grateful.