SOaR™ Visits
Battery Creek H.S.  

Optional page description text area...

Napalm Explodes behind Cobra Attack Helicopter

Napalm explodes behind a Cobra Attack Helicopter hovering in front of thousands of spectators at an air and ground show at McEntire Army and Air National Guard Base in 2009. (Photo by WSM)

Maggie, Celebrate Freedom Foundation's Cobra Helicopter

Maggie flies over the tree tops and performs a flyover as thousands below cheer at 2012 Celebrate Freedom Festival in Finlay Park, Columbia, S.C. (Photo by WSM)

U.S. Army Demonstration Team Cobra Helicopter

A U.S. Army Demonstration Team Cobra Helicopter roars past thousands of spectators attending an air and ground show at McEntire Army and Air National Guard Base in 2009.  (Photo by WSM)

Black Hawk Helicopter Hovers

As thousands of spectators attending the 2009 Air and Ground Show at McEntire Army and Air National Guard Base, a Black Hawk Helicopter hovers as the pilot demonstrates the aircraft's maneuverability.  (Photo by WSM)

small portfolio1    
themed object

 Thank you Colonial Life for supporting us as a Partner!

Educating children, promoting lasting patriotism and honoring the military — past, present and future

get in touch

Students Attending “Battery Creek Aviation/STEM Day” Event First to Witness a Fly-In by Maggie

By Stuart Morgan


Beaufort, S.C. (Apr. 25, 2013) — Approximately 700 local students attending the “Battery Creek Aviation/STEM Day” event at Battery Creek High School on Thursday, April 25 became the first students during the 2012-13 school year to witness a fly-in by Maggie, Celebrate Freedom Foundation’s AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter.

Coverage by
The Island Packet
Interview with Col. Jack Snider Interview with CW4 Vince Stella,
Maggie’s Pilot

CFF’s SOaR™ Program has visited dozens of schools in North Carolina and South Carolina since September 2012.  Through the years, the camouflage-painted helicopter, Maggie, whose nose is painted the jaws of a shark, has proven to be a popular attraction for students during SOaR™ school visits.

“We hosted this Aviation/STEM Day event to allow students from Battery Creek High School and the elementary and middle schools that feed into BCHS the opportunity to witness an aviation demonstration conducted by military personnel, and to gather educational and career related information from aviation personnel,” said Edmond Burnes, principal of Battery Creek High School.  “This event, which was absolutely successful, helped increase the likelihood that these students will enroll in our Aeronautical Engineering Academy, an academy with exciting career opportunities.

“We were seeking to provide students with opportunities to have an experiential learning opportunity that would enhance their being able to connect STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to the real world,” Burnes added.  “By asking questions and witnessing the demonstration, students were able to get a better understanding of real-life connections as it relates to aviation and engineering.  Students asked many good questions, they were engaged in the activities that were available to them, and you could see the excitement on their faces.”

The CFF SOaR™ Program — supported by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company and the U.S. Marine Corps — enabled students from four schools in the Battery Creek cluster to receive hands-on instruction on aviation and STEM courses.  Participating schools included:  Battery Creek High School, Robert Smalls Middle School, Broad River Elementary School and Joseph S. Shankin Elementary School.

Maggie flew in at 11 a.m. and circled overhead as students, standing behind a tall fence surrounding the soccer field behind the school, waived and shouted “Maggie.” Moments later, the helicopter landed on the field in front of them.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Maggie and Annie, an AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter, painted black, were displayed.

Pilots and aircraft technicians talked to students.

Representatives of the following organizations also talked to them:  Boeing Aerospace, Celebrate Freedom Foundation, Colonial Life and Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics; and students of Battery Creek High School Aviation & Engineering Program, and the school’s USMC JROTC Cadets, who led tours of the Battery Creek Aviation and Engineering Facility.  The facility includes a flight simulator, aircraft construction program, and aviation and engineering classrooms.

Members of a Marine Corps Aircraft Rescue Unit and the Burton Fire Department talked to students, and demonstrated the use of crash and fire rescue equipment.  

“Students are really beginning to connect Science, Technology, Engineering and Math to real world opportunities,” Burnes said.  “In addition, students are getting wonderful career pathway exposures.  They are realizing that one does not have to become a pilot or an engineer to have a highly successful career in a STEM field.”

Battery Creek High School MCJROTC Cadet Johnathan Az
Receives JROTC Award for Academic Excellence

Retired Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Robert K. Shannon, hired as a Marine instructor for the BCHS Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers’ Corps (MCJROTC) program after retiring from the USMC in 2003, called the school’s MCJROTC cadets to attention at 1 p.m. on the grounds behind the high school. 

GySgt Shannon promoted Cadet Johnathan Az to lance corporal and explained why Cadet Az, a ninth grade student at BCHS, was receiving the Award for Academic Excellence. 
He then introduced Marie McGehee, manager, community relations, Colonial Life, who presented the award (a ribbon and a certificate) to Cadet Az.

“Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company supports workforce development, educational opportunities, and that’s why we’re here today in partnership with Celebrate Freedom Foundation,” McGehee said.  “Celebrate Freedom Foundation believes strongly, as we do, in preparing students for a very bright future and all for the good our country.”

Each year, the CFF Award for Academic Excellence is presented to one ninth or tenth grade JROTC cadet attending each of more than 3,000 high schools in the United States.
“It is an award for excellence in academics and outstanding performance in cadet corps activities,” McGehee said, as she presented the award to Cadet Az.

GySgt Shannon said his role is to teach citizenship and leadership, but that he leans hard on teaching leadership traits and leadership principles.

“I try to instill into our young men and young ladies principles that will get them ready ─ not so much to go into the military — but to get them ready to go to college,” he explained.  “I push college more so than I push the military, because in today’s society I think they need to have a scholarship and a well-rounded education.

“I believe today’s event is the best I’ve seen in the 11 years I’ve been here,” GySgt Shannon added.  “Our high school’s principal, Edmond Burnes, is always saying that ‘Battery Creek is on the rise,’ and this just backs everything that he says.  The way our students at this school conducted themselves today was just magnificent.”

Retired Marine Corps Mastery Gunnery Sergeant Anthony Petrucci, hired as an aerospace and aviation instructor at BCHS after retiring from the USMC in 2010, described as “more than successful” last week’s BCHS Aviation/STEM Day event.

“We exposed kids from the elementary level through the high school level to career opportunities in aviation,” MGySgt Petrucci explained.  “We let them know about the sponsors who were here, and the various occupations that exist in aviation  from careers in crash fire and rescue out on the flight line to careers as pilots, and careers in manning aircraft, guiding aircraft and careers in logistics.  This event opened students’ eyes to a number of career possibilities, and not just those specifically focusing on careers as pilots.

“We’re fortunate to be located between Gulfstream and Boeing, and we’ve got the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, which has the next generation of fighter aircraft called the Joint Strike Fighter, the F35B,” he added.  “This brings an abundance of opportunities from the training to the logistics environment, as well as the ability to be able to fly and work on these aircraft.  So, I see the future is unlimited for this community.”

The CFF SOaR™ Program and its partner, Colonial Life, support STEM courses in middle and high schools to stimulate students minds and excite them about career choices. 

SOaR™ (School/Student Opportunities and Rewards) is an “in the box” curriculum that educators can implement to enhance STEM teaching and learning.  The program enhances the performance and success of students identified as educationally or economically at risk, as well as those who perform well in the classroom but are looking for career options and guidance. It actively involves a fast-paced curriculum of hands-on activities, experiments and simulations using high-tech industrial and military aviation and transportation resources as a platform.

Battery Creek High School Students Discuss Aviation/STEM Day Event

Four students at Battery High School recently spoke about the Aviation/STEM Day event.
Cadet Jonathan Az, who received the JROTC Award for Academic Excellence, said he was very excited about receiving the Award for Academic Excellence Award, and that receiving the award meant a lot to him.  He also said he was excited about being promoted to lance corporal in his Marine Corps JROTC unit.

Cadet Az, a ninth grader at BCHS, said he wants to join the U.S. Marine Corps.  He described the Aviation/STEM Day event as “fun and exciting,” and said he would recommend that students attend such an event if given the opportunity.

Erik Barbosa, an eleventh grader at BCHS, who takes aerospace and aviation courses at the school, said he appreciates the importance of STEM subjects and believes such courses are leading the way to the future.

“As long as we are learning,” he said, “our opportunities are open.”
Barbosa, who plans to major in physics or engineering in college, said the event was worthwhile because it provided an opportunity form him to learn more about various aspects of aviation, and to learn more about Boeing and jobs in aviation and Embry-Riddle University.

Cadet Wendell V. Roberson, Jr., a junior and MCJROTC cadet at BCHS, said the event was worthwhile because it gave younger children in elementary schools and middle schools a chance to learn about BCHS, and to see what they are going to experience when they attend BCHS.

“The most interesting thing I saw today was definitely Maggie, the helicopter, because it was the coolest thing I’ve seen,” Cadet Roberson said.  “As high school students, we kind of get bored with learning because it’s an everyday thing.  So, being able to see helicopter land in front of you isn’t something you see every day.  I mean, what kid wouldn’t love that.  It was awesome.”
Cadet Roberson plans to major in aerospace engineering in college and to pursue a career in engineering. 

Sydney Fosnight, an eleventh grader at BCHS, said it is important to take the harder subjects like science, technology, engineering and math to fully realize one’s potential, and that pushing yourself to take such difficult courses helps instill discipline.

“I definitely believe today’s event was a worthwhile one,” Fosnight added.  “The kids who came were able to get to see what goes on outside their little school worlds, and to get to learn more about real world jobs.  For me, the helicopter landing was the most interesting thing today.  Like Wendel (Roberson) said earlier, that’s not something you get to see every day.  I also enjoyed talking to the pilots and ex pilots.  They were inspirational.”

Fosnight plans to become a pilot after graduating from college. 

Kara Addy, assistant vice president, branding and communications, Colonial Life, said like Colonial Life, Celebrate Freedom Foundation focuses on promoting a positive future for our country.

“We are thrilled to partner with Celebrate Freedom Foundation through the SOaR™ program and the national JROTC Award for Excellence in Academics,” Addy added.  “This unique partnership magnifies and broadens the potential for student impact and outreach in the STEM subjects which strengthens our communities and shapes our future as a society.” 


Articles Published Previously on This Website

Online Articles Focusing on the Celebrate Freedom Foundation

slide up button