Springfield students soar over western Massachusetts in flying lesson

Participating students were part of Northampton Airport's 7th season of the Wright Flight program

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – As a way to get kids excited about math and science, a dozen Springfield students took flying lessons Wednesday, soaring thousand of feet over the Pioneer Valley.

Their air-time wraps up the 7th season of the Northampton Airport Wright Flight program – a 12-week program introducing Chestnut middle school students to science, technology, engineering, and math. Students flew from the Northampton airport, over the Quabbin Reservoir, to Orange, and back.

“Dan Bergeron, director of Wright Flight, explained the program’s philosophy. “We’re not graduating enough engineers and scientists,” says Bergeron, “so hopefully we’re steering a few kids in that direction.”

Another program, “Project Coach” teaches young adults how to be coaches one day. There’s a reason they’re up in the air, too, according to founder Dan Siegel. “One of the things that we talk about is pushing the envelope, so when people don’t think that they can do things, they actually can do things.”

For Brandin Stewart of Project Coach, flying lessons have taught him the value of adapting in situations. Stewart told 22News, “You have to start thinking and you have to adapt, because it’s do or die. So you really have to keep thinking about it, and keep creating things idea in your head. If you have issues, you have to figure it out.”

And figure it out they did, overlooking the gorgeous landscape of western Massachusetts.

“Once you’re up in the air, it’s calm,” says Jered Escribano of Project Coach. “The whole thing was smooth and it was a good time.”

Chestnut Middle School student Latasia Love says while the initial experience was terrifying, she’s glad to have faced her fear. “Well, I’m just going to remember how proud I felt of myself for actually doing this because before I did it, I was really scared. It felt really good to be in charge of the plane, and I liked it.”

Click here if you’d like to find out more about the Northampton Airport’s Wright Flight program.