This month we’ve had the pleasure of visiting several sites in Florida to tell the important and inspirational story of the Tuskegee Airmen. As always, between air shows, museums and community events, we carve out time from our schedule to visit schools. This way we can bring our message direct to students – an audience who might not be able to come to one of our larger events and hear about the Tuskegee Airmen. We’re proud to have the community support to bring a valuable history lesson straight to kids who stand to benefit the most.
Recently we brought the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit to Deerfield Beach Middle School where Dr. Regina Del Pino and school staff graciously welcomed us with open arms and helped to deliver this important inspirational message to the students who were eager to hear it. The icing on the cake? Original Tuskegee Airman Lt Col Leo Gray came to the school for a special appearance, and was greeted with a hero’s welcome. He shared with students his personal story of perseverance and service to our country, bringing history to life in a way only a decorated WWII hero can.
“We arranged to have two police cars in front of the campus with the lights on to properly welcome Lt Col Gray,” said Dr. Del Pino, coordinator of the school’s International Baccalaureate Magnet Program. “Our school’s Explorer Cadets were all lined up in their uniforms in front of the campus for his arrival. Other students were positioned behind them in their uniforms and each waving the American flag. It was a proud moment.”
The RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit was on campus for two days so that all students had the chance to visit the mobile theater and see our original film “Rise Above.” The event was followed by an open house on the weekend for the entire community to come down to the Traveling Exhibit for their own immersive and inspirational experience.
“I had the opportunity to view the mobile theater last year and it brought me to tears, just thinking of the inequitable treatment these men endured. This was an opportunity for our students to learn valuable history,” said Dr. Del Pino. “It is my hope that many of our students left this experience inspired to see future career possibilities, and feel empowered knowing that with perseverance and hard work that all things are possible.”
The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.