Southwest Airlines (Dallas) today announced the official kickoff of its award-winning Adopt-A-Pilot® program where thousands of fifth-grade students “adopt” Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways Pilots. Through this unique volunteer program, Pilots commit their resources and time from February through May to educate students through aviation-themed activities related to math, science, and other core subjects as well as inspire them to stay in school, set goals, and dream big dreams for the future. Now in its 16th year, more than 900 Pilots are visiting and inspiring students across the country.
“We hear countless stories from participating Pilots about how much they get back personally by helping students learn and inspiring them to dream big dreams,” said Chuck Magill, Southwest Airlines Vice President of Flight Operations. “We may be an airline, but we also do extraordinary work on the ground. The Adopt-A-Pilot® program is a prime example of our dedication to community and commitment to bringing future leaders unique learning opportunities.”
During the four-week long curriculum, Pilots volunteer their time in participating classrooms and correspond from the “road” via e-mail and postcards. Beyond the program’s core mentorship and curriculum-based activities, participating Pilots often take it one step further and seek mentors for their students.
Created in 1997, Adopt-A-Pilot® started as a community outreach program in just 50 classrooms in Southwest’s destination cities, and has grown to reach more than 412,000 students nationwide. Southwest Airlines developed the program in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education and the Smithsonian Institution of National Air and Space Museum. National leaders such as Gen. Colin Powell, President Bill Clinton, and First Lady Laura Bush have recognized the excellence that the Adopt-A-Pilot program offers students.
Copyright Photo: Michael Carter. The emblem that was carried on the nose of Boeing 737-7H4 N273WN (msn 32528).