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Inside California Education: Bob Hoover Academy

Inside California Education: Bob Hoover Academy


(Plane engine starting) Carol: I’m a flight instructor
for the Bob Hoover Academy. They’re fragile students,
some of them can have a lot of trouble at home. Their environment is
not necessarily good. The main purpose of the
program is to get the children
through high school. Not necessarily make
pilots out of them. “Clear!” (Plane engine starting) Dulce: I’d never
been on a plane, ever. Because like, I’m
really terrified of heights. And like the school told
me, that’s how the school is going to work. If you don’t get
your first flight you, then won’t be
able to do anything, like you have to get
your first flight. And I had to like
conquer my fears. Carol: Clear takeoff
26. Looking 757 Kilo Foxtrot. Now with the throttle.
Move positive. Full power. Push it all the
way to the wall. Dulce: When you’re up there
you feel free like a bird, you know. Dr. Kotowski: The Bob Hoover
Academy has just been a tremendous asset to the
Monterey County Office of Education, to our students
who are most at risk, who need to have an
opportunity in life. Because flight lifts you
up, not only in the air, but also in what is possible
for you in your life. And I think that’s the
greatest asset of the program, is that our
students can see that they, too, can soar to boundless
heights in whatever they choose to do. Sean: What a wise old man
told me a long time ago: No matter how rich you
are or famous you are, you’re not relevant
unless you’re giving back. And this is my
way of giving back. Sean: My name is
Sean D. Tucker, and I fly upside down
for a living. I travel across North
America and perform in front of about six
million people a year. I tumble and flip and
twirl through the sky. I’m in the third dimension. I fall backwards for eight,
900 feet under control, recover, and I
provide thrills. Salinas is my hometown. This is where I’m from. I’m very proud of
this community, such a beautiful
valley, it’s so lush, there’s so much
abundance here. But we do have an issue,
and it’s called gangs. ♪♪ Diego: If you want to
become someone in life, you have to be a
known gang member. So that’s what I
got into the path. I wanted to be
known as a gang member, nothing but gangs. Sean: You know, gangs
are very seductive. It’s a community. And it’s a safe place. And it’s cool. This is more seductive. Diego: I found out
about this opportunity. At first it was like, OK,
this is going to be hard, I don’t want to
be doing this. But then I tell myself that
if I change my attitude and I change the way I think, I
can be able to be flying. Every time I go up in
the air and I look down, I tell myself, wow, look
at I’m actually flying. Sean: The Department of
Education Monterey County has courage. This is an
out-of-the-box program. We’re actually teaching
kids younger than 18 to fly? And let them
solo an airplane? That takes courage
to take that risk. So I fund this, I fund
only the flight program. I’ve partnered with
them, and I have to go raise money. And this can be replicated
in other communities, but it’s gotta
be a partnership. Carol: Your first job as
pilot in command is fly the airplane. First thing in
an emergency is, get your best glide. Dr. Kotowski: The program is
very structured and so the students have to go from
one level to the next level. And as they proceed
through the program, there’s a process of
formation that’s actually occurring in their lives. They’re learning that they
can accomplish great things if they have the commitment
and the perseverance and they follow through. Carol: They learn about
systems of the airplane. They learn about the
four forces of flight, they learn how to
do a pre-flight, they learn the controls. Then we get in the airplane,
go out there and work what we talked about. Then we come home and talk
about what we did and how we could make it
better next time. We’re aiming them
to solo an airplane, and that means that
they have the confidence, and the instructor
had the confidence, that we can go out,
we fly a little bit, make sure you’re
greased up, ready to go, and then I jump out. And then you do three
landings and take-offs by yourself. Emilio: You gotta
take everything serious. You can’t mess around. I feel like being in
this program helps me a lot because I stay focused on my
main thing – which is like I want to fly. I’ve been wanting to do that
since I was a little kid. Before coming here, I had
dropped out of school and I was working construction. That’s not what I
wanted to do my whole life, you know? So I decided to come
back and follow my dream. Dr. Kotowski: They have come
from some very challenging backgrounds. And they have had
failures in their lives. Then they enter into this
program and there’s hope. There’s hope for
what they can do. Emilio: It’s changed
a lot, like my life, because I feel like I’m
actually getting to where I want to be in life. Dulce: Before this program,
I struggled with what to after high school if I
wanted to go to college. I see myself I wanted to be
a pilot or mechanic or both. Diego: Everyone cares about
what you’re going to do with your life. What you want to
become, somebody in life. Getting paid. Not stealing cars,
not doing this or that. You get paid
$120,000 salary? Cool with me. Sean: To see that
transformation is, is unbelievable, to see
them finally get that ‘aha’ moment. They go, “I’m relevant.” “I’m worthy,” and
that’s powerful. ♪♪ Narr: The Bob Hoover
Academy is named after Bob Hoover, the famous air show
pilot who flew until his retirement in the 1990s. Students at the academy work
toward a high school diploma while also learning to fly. The core curriculum
ties into aviation through lessons in
history, aero-science, engineering,
math and English.

Comments (1)

  1. Great program. Loved the great Bob Hoover.

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