The Spooner High School Aviation Club is one of eight projects that will receive a 2017 Standing Up for Rural Wisconsin Schools, Libraries, and Communities Award during a program and reception Oct. 31 in Wisconsin Dells.

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) says that these awards are presented each year to nominated projects that “demonstrate the great potential and collaborative spirit of rural Wisconsin."  This year’s recipients join 105 exemplary programs recognized since 2005.

The Spooner High School Aviation Club has provided hands-on learning experiences for Spooner students since 2008. The kit for the construction of a Zenith 701 experimental aircraft was purchased through a broad-based collaborative community fund-raising effort. Students have had the opportunity to participate through summer school and after-school programming. From participating in collaborative decision making, to learning about the principles of flight, to the use of specialized aviation tools, students have gained experiences that expose them to the growing and exciting field of aviation. Community members have provided a wide range of material and logistical support, including expertise in airframe and power plant construction and access to hanger space to properly store the aircraft. Excitement has grown during the past year as the plane has neared completion with the expectation that it will be airworthy by the end of the current school year. Alumni of the program have gone on to study aerospace engineering and other areas of engineering in college, with one alumnus working in the aerospace field. The project has drawn female participants, providing encouragement for young women in aviation and engineering. From project conception and fund­raising to aircraft construction, collaboration between the school district and community has been an essential element of this STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning experience.

Spooner Area School District Superintendent Dr. David Aslyn told that the Spooner High School Aviation Club's aircraft construction project is "a great example" of school - community collaboration. "Students, community members, and District staff have all played an important role in this great project. Earning the Standing Up for Rural Education Award is well deserved and is something everybody connected with the Spooner schools and community can be proud of."

The awards program begins at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31, at the Glacier Canyon Lodge at the Wilderness in Wisconsin Dells.

For additional information about each project, read the official release from DPI.

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