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Museum of Flight expands horizons of local students

8:52 am April 8th, 2013

By Shannon Steedman
For all its beautiful airplanes and great educational programs, what
the Museum of Flight does best is inspire. As an educator, I’m
constantly on the lookout for programs that inspire my students to set
goals and work toward achieving them. Sometimes all it takes is
opening the doors to opportunity and showing our young men and women
what’s possible – and then an interest is triggered, a dream begins to
take shape. Unfortunately, for many students, those opportunities
never arise.
In my school district, there are high school students who have never left the county. In recent years, however, we’ve been able to get students
involved in the Museum of Flight.
First, we saw the first Eatonville student ever qualify for
Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS). This young man has always been full of
energy, ready to do something great if given the chance. During the
week-long summer residency, for the first time he was able to mix with
students that were just like him – kids with a shared love of
technology and engineering. Eatonville High School will send another WAS student for the 2013 summer residency program.
Second, during the WomenFly! program, seven Eatonville girls were able
to make the trip to Seattle, two of whom had never ventured north of
Tacoma. Listening to women pilots, astronauts, and even a woman who
drives the Mars lander, they were mesmerized. And for maybe the very
first time, they clearly saw what they could do with their own lives.
They’re no longer boxed in by geography. They see a wide open
universe of possibility, where they can do anything they put their
minds to. What a gift this museum has given them.

Shannon Steedman is the director of career and technical education at
Eatonville High School.

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