Imagine learning in redesigned space of a 153-foot jet. Students across the high plains will soon have that opportunity.
A Boeing 727 will land at the Liberal, Kansas airport, and then taxi to the Mid America Air Museum where it will become a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classroom.
The project is the result of the efforts of the Seward County Community College/Area Technical School, the Mid America Air Museum, the City of Liberal and USD 480.
Janese Thatcher is the SCCC/ATS Dean of Career and Technical Education. She hopes the project inspires students.
“The objectives of this project are to provide students with a learning experience that connects math and science (STEM) subjects to exciting, real-world applications and to foster confidence in the students’ ability to succeed,” Thatcher said in a recent press release.
Thatcher also said she wants to engage an unlikely demographic.
“We especially want to provide role models for women and minority students, as often they underestimate their ability to succeed in technical career areas,” she shared. “As a woman I certainly did at first, but went on to be an aircraft mechanic who worked on jets including a B727.”
The jet, dubbed “Alina,” will be defueled and deactivated. It will be equipped with portable furnishing that allow flexibility, and provide learning space for 30-60 students.
Alina will provide hands-on learning right away by allowing students in the SCCC/ATS technology programs to participate in the transformation to a classroom. Once the redesign is complete, students of all ages will have the opportunity to have the experience.
The jet will land at the Mid America Air Museum at 9 a.m. on June 5. The public is invited to attend.