FLYOVER GIVES BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF YOKOTA SCHOOL PRIDE!
As the helicopter made its pass above the football field, over 400 cheering high school and middle school students waved enthusiastically as they spelled out “YOKOTA”.
Both American and Japanese flags were held aloft as students gathered in a display of school spirit and pride for a welcome video to showcase each school in their upcoming 5 year AdvancEd accreditation visits in April. This fun event was made even better by the uncharacteristically warm spring weather on a fine and sunny St. Patrick’s Day.
Students were treated to the sounds of Irish fiddle music playing across the turf via the fieldhouse sound system, courtesy of DJ (and beloved longtime YHS math teacher) Mr. John Thek. The cadets from the school’s AFJROTC program helped students form up into letters on the field as anticipation built for the chopper’s arrival.
While it may be true that “it takes a village to raise a child”, for us stationed overseas, it takes a base community and Yokota Air Base certainly showed its strong community support for our base schools. During a routine 459th Airlift Squadron training mission, pilot Maj Destry Hill flew over the field for a short videoclip.
Helicopter crew member SSgt Chris Rector said “personally, as a former DoDDS student, I am proud of my opportunity afforded to support the local DODEA schools. Seeing the students on the field showing their support for their schools reminded me of the school spirit and faith in the DODEA programs that I remember.” He continued, “with the direction that the Air Force is going right now in the air, space and technical fields, the knowledge I gained in the programs that DoDDS had, both during and after school, enabled me to be more technically proficient and better able to perform my duties in the U.S. Air Force.”
Lt Jonathan Palka stated “the 459th mission includes humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, med-evac and search and rescue”. Lt Palka would like to tell the students: “Flying is fun (especially helicopters!), if anyone is interested in becoming a pilot, I would encourage them to pursue that. As my dad always told me, study hard and get smart!”
The Dept. of Defense schools (DODEA) are widely recognized as “one of the most successful school systems in the U.S... strategic planning, a conviction that all children can learn, and community support are among the reasons for the system’s success”. DODEA states that “a school’s commitment to accreditation assures parents and the community that the school is focused on raising student achievement, providing a safe and enriching learning environment, and maintaining an efficient and effective operation. An accredited school adheres to high quality standards based on the latest research.”
Principals Mrs. Teresa Moon (YHS) and Dr. Tonya Laliberte (YMS) and their respective school faculties are putting the final touches on the multiyear re-accreditation preparations. The upcoming AdvancEd team visit is slated for the week of April 20th. Mrs. Moon said “this was a joint effort between the Middle School and the High School to show a partnership that goes beyond sharing students for academic classes. Yokota Schools have a strong relationship with the base command and we work together to support the learning needs of our students and the community they live in.”
Members of the YHS Panther and YMS White Tiger school communities extend their heartfelt appreciation for the strong support from the Yokota Air Base community in all the things they do for our schools throughout the year and also to the 459th AS for this special flyover event. Yokota; a great base with great schools, students and parents!