R.’s Plane Flight

A Young Chautauqua parent tells of the far-reaching benefits of our program for her family:

“I just want to say that YC is an awesome and rewarding program.   This will be the fourth year that my children have participated.

Because of his participation in YC, my son, R., has discovered a fascination with World War II.   Last year, he portrayed Paul Tibbets, the pilot who flew the Enola Gay and dropped the atomic bomb.  He read a wonderfully detailed autobiography by Mr. Tibbets.  Boulder YC made it possible for him to present his performance of Paul Tibbets at the Spirit of Flight Museum in Erie, CO.

The day before R.’s  performance, Gordon Page, the director of the museum, told me that he had sent out about a thousand emails inviting people to come.   He said lots of people were coming, and that some were flying in from Colorado Springs.

That made R. feel a “bit nervous.”  All of the seats were filled and a lot of people were standing in the back and sides of the room when R. walked out onto the stage to begin his performance.  In his introduction of R., Mr Page had gotten the audience to laugh, so R. had a relaxed, welcoming crowd waiting for his performance.

He was a little nervous at first, but almost immediately he felt the respectful interest of the members of the audience, his speech slowed down and he began looking out at the audience and responding to their interest. And suddenly, the room was quiet, and all of us were there in the room with Paul Tibbets as he told us about his life.

The members of the audience, a lot of whom were pilots, asked very good questions.  R. had done a lot of extra research,  just because he had gotten so interested in the subject, so he was able to respond to their questions with confidence.  Then, near the end, when R. was responding to questions, not as Paul Tibbets, but as R., the researcher,  a voice from the back of the room asked,  “Have you ever been up in a plane?”  R. said, “No.”  The man remarked, “Well, we’ll have to do something about that.”

Later, as we were standing around talking with people, a man came up and sat down in the chair next to me.  He introduced himself as a pilot from Colorado Springs, who had flown up to Erie just to hear the Paul Tibbets YC performance.  He asked me if it would be okay if he took R. for a ride in his plane.  We talked for awhile, and as we talked, I relaxed and thought, “what a wonderful opportunity for R.”   So, I said,”sure”.  The  man said, “well, let’s go see what R. thinks of this idea.”  R. was standing only a few feet away.  He said, “oh, Mom, please, please?”  I said, “Sure, it’ll be a wonderful experience.”

All of us walked out, and watched Mr. Anderson, the pilot, as he walked over to the runway, and then taxied the plane over to where we were standing.  We saw R. climb in and put on goggles.  Then the plane took off.  They were in the air for about half an hour.  R. was ecstatic all the way home.

When we got home, R. pulled out the Singapore math books and really began concentrating on them and moving through the material quickly.  He said, “Mom, Paul Tibbets was first in his class in college.  Pilots have to know a lot of math.”  That interest and absorption in math is still continuing.  And, thankfully, that interest seems to be contagious.  R’s sisters and his brother  are competing  to be the first to catch up with R. in getting through the Singapore books.

Everyone here is excited to begin the new season of YC.  We hope that alot of you will come and join us.”

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    S. as Julius Caesar

    S. as Julius Caesar