Landing a Chinook helicopter next to a school playground was all in a day’s work for members of the National Guard unit in Pendleton on Thursday, November 10, 2022. Amid loud cheering from students at Sherwood Heights Elementary, the Chinook landed near the playground.
The special event, organized by the school’s Assistant Principal, TJ Presley, was to help students celebrate Veterans Day. Presley used to arrange this type of visit at his previous school in Pilot Rock and thought it would be great to introduce this experience to Sherwood Spurs during his first year at Sherwood. “The kids could hardly contain their excitement!” Presley said.
After the helicopter landed, the soldiers on site gave students a full tour of the Chinook, including the exterior, where they learned about different parts of the aircraft and the interior, including sitting in the seats and learning how it operates. Students were full of questions, and the soldiers did an excellent job of leading the learning, Presley said.
Teachers at Sherwood have recently been integrating information about Veterans Day into their lessons and teaching about the day’s meaning. Several students wrote letters, created signs, colored pictures and more. Presley said on November 10th, students were encouraged to wear red, white, and blue; some wore army camouflage.
As for what Presley hopes students take away from this exciting day at school, Presley said, “We want our students to understand the importance of this day and to honor those who serve our country. We hope this experience will plant the seed for some of our students to strongly consider the military as a viable option once they graduate from Pendleton High School. One thing we do know – according to several students – this was the best day ever!”