EDUCATING THE YOUTH OF BROOKLINE METCO PROGRAM

25 Feb 2021 9:25 PM | Steven

EDUCATING THE YOUTH OF BROOKLINE METCO PROGRAM

 

My name is Steven Goler, and I am a District 1 AVP working for the betterment of our hobby! I work closely with our District 1 Vice President Andy Argenio. Andy is continually active in our District 1 community and set the standard for all of us District 1 AVP’s to be active and promote the hobby in all ways we can. So, I took this opportunity to do just that! I believe that we all owe it to whom ever is interested in model aviation. We should strive to keep the enthusiasm alive and stimulate the minds of our youth as well as people that have been in this hobby for years. Model aviation has a way of expressing a feeling of accomplishment seeing something that you built and seeing your dream of flight come to fruition!

A few months ago, I invited a close family friend to one of the jet rallies that was held at Plum Island Radio Control Flyers Inc. AMA #5198 Newbury MA. Unbeknownst to me he told one of his friends who is an educator with Brookline METCO (Public Schools) about me and my jets. Her name is Felicia (Cece) Huggins; she is the METCO Advisor for John Pierce School, and the William H. Lincoln School in Brookline, MA (617) 942-1759. What is METCO you ask?


METCO is a school integration program that enrolls Urban Boston students in high-performing public schools in the suburbs to reduce racial isolation. Children get a great education, make life long interracial friendships, and prepare for a diverse global economy since 1966. I have had three of my very own younger siblings attend METCO and they are all successful citizens; making a difference in the communities they grew up in and paying it forward for the next generation.

My friend showed Ms. Huggins a video of me flying one of my jets. She was so impressed that she shared it with her students. I guess the students were so excited about seeing these jets that they wanted to know more about them! So, she got back to my friend and asked how to contact me so she could find out more about these amazing jets. Ms. Felicia asked me if I would be willing to participate in a Zoom meeting with these children and talk to them about the hobby and how it has impacted my life. We finally made contact and I jumped all over the opportunity to share my knowledge of the hobby and how it helped me make a career choice all stemming from having fun with model airplanes! I never thought that just flying a “toy” plane would help mold my life choices! The spark was lit.

These children come from the same urban community that I grew up, Boston, Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan. We did not see a lot of people that looked like us with radio-controlled airplanes. I was fortunate to have an uncle that had a radio-controlled airplane and that is how I got introduced to radio-control anything! I was instantly hooked!  How could I deny these kids the same opportunity that I got to experience the fun world of flying a radio-controlled airplane? The answer is simple, I could not that is how! Subsequently Ms. Felicia and I set a date to make this happen.

 

EDUCATING THE YOUTH OF BROOKLINE METCO PROGRAM

 

I thought to myself if there was someone that I can reach out to that would assist me with this presentation. Someone that has the same passion and a great knowledge of model airplanes, the hobby, and most importantly life experiences! Instantly a great friend came to mind that has spoken to all ages of people literally throughout the world. He is an AMA member in good standing, a Horizon Hobby ambassador and well known throughout the hobby! He is also a two-time NHRA motorcycle drag race champion! His name is Reggie Showers! Reggie has been a good friend to me, and we constantly communicate about the hobby and life in general. So, when I reached out to Reggie Showersthere was no hesitation in his response. He was onboard before I finished telling him about this opportunity to pass on the education that could help mold a child’s mind in a positive way. And that is what it’s really all about!

 

On February 10, 2021 we began our Zoom session with a classroom full of inquisitive articulate children. We opened the session with both introductions, a brief history of Academy of Model Aeronautics and its mission. I shared information about our AMA Youth Membership and educational opportunities. Explained that the AMA scholarships offer up to $50,000 awarded annually in college scholarships. Also, there is access to 2,400 AMA flying clubs & fields throughout the country. Information is at their fingertips on the AMA site and there’s always someone to help when needed.

As we spoke some of their hands went up almost right away. They wanted to know how fast the planes were, how high do they go, how far can they go, and how do we control them. These were all exceptionally good questions. The one question that they did not ask was how much it costs! I really thought that they would have asked for sure, but they were more interested in the operation of them and the skill needed to operate one of these jets. Many of the children wanted to know how long it took for us to be able to fly jets. Of course, we told them that we all started out small with propeller airplanes and worked out way up as we gained experience. We told them that it took a lot of practice and crashing to get here; and still not done crashing!!! (lol)

As I mentioned earlier, we wanted to emphasize that education is the key to everything in life. Even when you are playing there’s learning involved. We went into some of the history of how the Tuskegee Airman became one of the best fighting squadrons during World War II. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first Black military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps (AAC), a precursor of the U.S. Air Force. Trained at the Tuskegee Army Airfield in Alabama, they flew more than 15,000 individual sorties in Europe and North Africa during World War II. American bomber crews nicknamed the 332nd, the Red Tails or Red Tail Angels after the red tail markings on the vertical stabilizers of the unit's aircraft. The Luftwaffe called the Tuskegee Airmen, Der Schwarze Vogelmenschen, literally the Black Birdmen.

 

EDUCATING THE YOUTH OF BROOKLINE METCO PROGRAM

 

The children were glued to the screen as Mr. Showers was explaining to them how people that looked exactly like them were a significant part of helping to win World War II and liberating Europe. The point is that it does not matter what your skin color is, it is that you can do anything, be anything you want to in this country with hard work and dedication. During the conversation one of the children Googled Mr. Showers and she was so impressed at what she was reading she let him know! Now that is instant education at your fingertips! Someone they just met on a computer instilling the power of the internet for the good of education. Now that is what I am talking about!

As our hour came closer to the end we wondered where the time went. We ended up showing them another video with drones. We talked to them about FPV drones. How drones can be used to earn a living, fire and rescue, home sales and lots of ways to earn a living through the technology that is ever growing. The sky’s literally the limit when it comes to radio-controlled airplanes and drones. The seed has been planted and people like Reggie Showers and me are there to water the seeds to watch them grow!

 

Steven Goler,

District 1 AVP 644171

 


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