Crutchfield Elementary took its school year theme of “destination learning” to a new level Tuesday when a live helicopter landed at the campus. The day was dedicated to projects and activities all pertaining to travel, and students were encouraged to dress in clothes representative of where they would like to go.

Students lined up behind the safety line on the school’s yard to watch the helicopter land. As the aircraft began to descend, wind whipped and students cheered with excitement. After landing, the Air Evac Lifeteam stood for photos with staff and students.

Crutchfield Instructional Coach Shelley Reeves said the experience would help students make connections with new vocabulary and concepts.

“Enhancing their vocabulary in a creative way like this is engaging for them and it’s an experience that they’re not going to forget,” Reeves said. “Kids don’t get the opportunity to fly on an airplane every day. It just really makes a connection on setting goals for themselves.”

Before the helicopter made its appearance, students were given boarding passes for Bearcat Airlines. They were also given passports to be filled out. In the spring, the passports will be re-visited to show the students’ progress toward their goals.

Sherman Independent School District Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations Tyson Bennett came out see the helicopter land and the students interacting with it. Bennett said he is a big proponent of interactive events.

“I think events like this are great because it gives kids experiences that they may never be a part of,” Bennett said. “It excites them. It engages them. And it gives them a memory that they’ll never forget.”

The “destination learning” theme kicked off with a travel-themed staff photo taken at Sherman Municipal Airport. Crutchfield Assistant Principal Kalyn McAlester said the idea for the theme came from Principal Rhonda Johnson.

“She wanted to do a travel theme because whenever you’re headed somewhere you have to think about what your doing,” McAlester said. “You have to have your map and your goals and you’ve got to diligently plan.”

Reeves went on to explain interactive experiences provide inspiration for students.

“It shows where they can take themselves and their education,” Reeves said. “They can do anything that they set their minds to. We like the hands on and the creativity. We also really like to involve our community. We love our partnership with Sherman and the support we get.”

Sporting blazers, scarves and hats, the school’s office staff all dressed as flight attendants for the day. McAlester explained the idea came from the realization that they are the facilitators of the students’ educational travel.

“Whether it’s a destination or goal that’s right here or whether it’s way down there — every kid gets to choose,” McAlester said. “That is self monitoring, which is what they’re supposed to be able to do.”