Today we were so fortunate to have John Plesha, who was a navigator in a B-24 during WWII, talk with the students. the B-24s “The Liberators” also had the nickname “The Flying Coffin” due to their unreliability and tendency to, well, crash. Often.
At 91 years old,Mr. Plesha is a vibrant storyteller who regaled the students with amazing stories. Did you know that the crews on the B-24s carried pigeons? If the plane was going down, the navigator would yell out the coordinates, a crew member would write it on a message, strap it to the pigeon’s leg and throw the pigeon out the window.The crew, hopefully having deployed a life raft, would have to hope for the best. No GPS then!
He told them about the time his plane lost three out of four engines. One of the crew panicked and jumped out, becoming a German prisoner of war. Mr. Plesha stayed in the plane with the rest of crew. They managed to get two of the engines started again, but they had to fly over the Alps with just 3 working engines. They weren’t able to gain enough altitude so they flew over Brenner Pass and manged to get back to the base, just after they were given up for missing.
Mr. Plesha went on to become a math teacher for 30 years in Edmonds, WA. He figured his odds of staying alive on his 50 missions were 50% each time he flew. The students are so lucky to have the chance to meet him, ask him questions and get to know someone who could tell them what it was really like to fly during WWII.
We were thrilled to welcome back a member of Seabury Middle School’s first graduating class. He is currently a high school senior, taking Running Start classes this year and a passionate historian. He came back and talked to our students to share his extensive WWII knowledge. A few students asked him to come back and teach all day!
Students had the chance to meet with Rushton Howard, author of the Sebastian Reckless series. He gave some great advice to our young authors while making them laugh uproariously. They will never forget the importance of the outline after his visit!
Mr. Howard offered many great tips such as:
Brainstorm! Use an outline! Just write, write, write- you can fix it later! If you tell yourself you’re going to make mistakes it frees you up to write. The most important words of your rough draft is -THE END!
He also shared his process for illustrating his novels- which involves many many drafts and practicing to get his illustrations just right.
Students can still order copies of his books if they would like their own copy.
We’re looking forward to seeing more creative stories with OUTLINES! 🙂
We had a chance to visit the LeMay car Museum and had a chance to see the changes in car manufacturing before and after WWII.
We had a great time taking the Link and walking up to the museum.
Students were able to see one of the few cars that was made during WWII. Why is there no chrome? Ask a student!
One of the volunteer docents was none other than Mrs. R’s father- who once raced stockcars at Limerock. He enjoyed showing the students his picture of him winning a race and telling them stories as they checkout out the Limerock virtual simulator at the museum.
Students had a chance to race their own derby cars and try out some driving.
We had time to see many more of the interesting cars at the LeMay, including the one and only car built in Tacoma! The 1922 Olympic
It was awesome to see history come to life through the automobile.
This year, Seabury Middle School has added a choice of elective classes every Monday. They are driven by student interest and available expertise. We’ve been able to offer psychology, music recording, cartooning, coding, cooking, painting and community service. We’ve got a few more options that are in the works for the spring.
These kids packed over 100 bags of food for St. Leo’s Food Connection. The food is distributed to students in Tacoma Public Schools to help with food scarcity over the weekends.
Students writing their own code.
Independent Science Projects are a chance for students to develop and explore their own interests related to Science. Students are asked to identify an area of Science that interests them and develop a question related to it. Once they’ve come up with an experiment design to test their question, we do class critiques. Students ask questions and offer suggestions to their classmates that often point out variables that hadn’t been controlled for. This not only helps students improve their experiments, but each student in the audience has a chance to think critically about a couple dozen experiment designs rather than just their own.
This year, Dr. Yakelis, a Chemistry professor at Pacific Lutheran University, sat in on the critiques to help the kids hone their ideas for their projects. Dr. Yakelis offers great insights into the Scientific Process and helps students think the way a working scientist thinks. Many thanks to Dr. Yak for taking time out of his busy schedule once again to help out!