• From the classroom to the sky! Ms. Aimee Katz, sixth grade teacher at DeGrazia Elementary School, had the opportunity of a lifetime when she took flight in a Cessna-182 as a part of the US Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Teacher Orientation Program (TOP) Flight.


    The TOP program was created to energize and excite educators about aviation education, to then pass this enthusiasm along to their students, advancing CAP’s aerospace education mission. This exhilarating aerospace/STEM program included a pre-flight briefing, the actual airplane flight, and educational applications to share with students.


    Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col) Ken McKinley of the William Rogers Memorial Senior Squadron 104 flew Ms. Katz in a state-of-the-art Cessna-182. Originating from the Marana Regional Airport, the Cessna-182 flew a path over DeGrazia Elementary School where students gathered in a “DGE” formation outside, and aerial photos were taken.


    Lt Col McKinley controlled the plane during take-off and landing, and Ms. Katz experienced the flight characteristics of the Cessna upon reaching cruising altitude.  Ground communications were facilitated during the flight so Ms. Katz could speak with students as the Cessna flew over.


    Lt Col McKinley also visited with students to talk about aerospace, aviation-related careers, and STEM. Lt Col McKinley shared with students the plan, the planning of the flight, the math used to fuel the plan, the geography of the ground below, and the science behind the “magic” of flying.


    “This is an amazing opportunity to be a part of the aviation industry and learn about aerospace,” said Ms. Katz. “I am excited to bring this aviation-related STEM knowledge into my classroom. I love seeing student’s excitement as they learn new skills, discover new things and are exposed to endless opportunities.”     


    Principal Tawnya Caldwell appreciated the opportunity for students to embrace what they are learning while potentially piquing interest in future aviation careers.


    “Our students will not only receive classroom instruction from experienced pilots, but they will also have the opportunity to see their teacher soar over their school in one of their aircraft.  How cool is that? It is so important for students to find connections between science, technology, engineering, and math subjects with real-world learning,” Ms. Caldwell said.