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42nd OSS teams up with local school to enrich students’ education

Senior Airman Emanuel Leon–Santiago, 42nd Operational Support Squadron air traffic controller, demonstrates how air traffic controllers speak to pilots flying in their airspace to a group of students from Thelma S. Morris Elementary School Feb. 5, 2019, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Students in grades three through five had an opportunity to visit the 42nd OSS and meet the Airmen who make the mission happen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexa Culbert)

Senior Airman Emanuel Leon–Santiago, 42nd Operational Support Squadron air traffic controller, demonstrates how air traffic controllers speak to pilots flying in their airspace to a group of students from Thelma S. Morris Elementary School Feb. 5, 2019, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Students in grades three through five had an opportunity to visit the 42nd OSS and meet the Airmen who make the mission happen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexa Culbert)

A group of third graders from Thelma S. Morris Elementary School check out the air traffic control simulator during a base visit Feb. 5, 2019, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The simulator is used to train new air traffic controllers and afterwards the students had an opportunity to climb to the top of the air traffic control tower themselves. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexa Culbert)

A group of third graders from Thelma S. Morris Elementary School check out the air traffic control simulator during a base visit Feb. 5, 2019, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The simulator is used to train new air traffic controllers and afterwards the students had an opportunity to climb to the top of the air traffic control tower themselves. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexa Culbert)

Senior Airman Anthony Morris, 42nd Operational Support Squadron air traffic controller, demonstrates the job of an air traffic controller to a group of third graders from Thelma S. Morris Elementary School Feb. 5, 2019, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The 42nd OSS invited T.S. Elementary School students and their teachers and gave them the ins and outs of air operations at Maxwell and a tour of the air traffic control tower and a C–130 Hercules. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexa Culbert)

Senior Airman Anthony Morris, 42nd Operational Support Squadron air traffic controller, demonstrates the job of an air traffic controller to a group of third graders from Thelma S. Morris Elementary School Feb. 5, 2019, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The 42nd OSS invited T.S. Elementary School students and their teachers and gave them the ins and outs of air operations at Maxwell and a tour of the air traffic control tower and a C–130 Hercules. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexa Culbert)

Students from Thelma S. Morris Elementary School find out what it feels like to be in the pilot’s seat of a C–130 Hercules during a base visit Feb. 5, 2019, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The 42nd OSS invited T.S. Elementary School students and their teachers to demonstrate the different mission sets and careers of the Air Force, specifically careers that are STEM related. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexa Culbert)

Students from Thelma S. Morris Elementary School find out what it feels like to be in the pilot’s seat of a C–130 Hercules during a base visit Feb. 5, 2019, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The 42nd OSS invited T.S. Elementary School students and their teachers to demonstrate the different mission sets and careers of the Air Force, specifically careers that are STEM related. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexa Culbert)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --

Airmen from the 42nd Operational Support Squadron partnered with a local elementary school to provide the students an inside look at STEM careers within the Air Force, Feb. 5, 2019.

Approximately 50 Thelma S. Morris Elementary School students, from grades three through five, visited the base with their teachers in order to learn more about what happens within the gates of Maxwell.

To kick-start the day, the elementary students were able to meet several Airmen with varied backgrounds and hear their reasons for joining the military.

After the short meet and greet, the teachers and students of T.S. Morris got to see the Air Force in action. They were escorted up into the Air Traffic Control Tower, toured a C–130 Hercules and learned the mathematical basis for how an airplane stays in flight.

“Obviously airpower is a very prominent aspect of the world; and the way technology is going and the way things are progressing, these kids need to have a better scope on the way things work,” said Senior Airman Austin Neafus, 42nd OSS air traffic controller. “We’re not here to teach them the inner workings of an internal combustion engine or anything crazy like that, but just to peak their curiosity.”

Last month, Air University hosted a K–12 Education Summit with the hopes of creating ties with schools in the community to enhance the educational opportunities for the students in the River Region; The event hosted by the 42nd OSS was a step closer to meeting that objective.

The event strengthened an already present partnership between the school and the base and exhibited the importance of STEM in the real world to the young students.

“There are so many times that students think that they’re only going to use math inside of a classroom, but today they learned that math, science and technology are used outside of the classroom and then how to apply it to many different fields,” said Jacqueline Jackson, T.S. Morris Elementary School math resource teacher.

Jackson said that the base community has provided so many opportunities for their students that she now sees the Airmen of Maxwell as partners in their education plans; and before the field trip none of the kids raised their hands when asked if they want to join the Air Force, but afterwards all of them raised their hands.