SMSD News: Helping each student reach new heights

Superintendent Dr. Michelle Hubbard flying with the US Navy Blue Angels in an F/A 18 Super Hornet jet.

This week, I had the privilege of being joined by two Shawnee Mission North students as I achieved a dream I never thought possible.

 I was invited to fly with the US Navy Blue Angels in an F/A 18 Super Hornet jet!

Click here to see a video.

 Jalen Juan, junior, and Owen Dooley, senior, in the Shawnee Mission North High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, joined me at the New Century AirCenter as I took the flight of a lifetime. I’ll admit I was nervous, but I pushed through it. I knew the flight would be amazing and I was grateful to share this learning opportunity.  

 Jalen and Owen have considered becoming pilots in the future. Both were able to meet the pilot for this flight, Blue Angel #7, Lieutenant Julius Bratton. Lt. Bratton knew from the age of five that he wanted to fly planes. The students also got to see an incredible team, from mechanics to air traffic controllers, working together to support the fighter pilot.

 Having dedicated my life to education, this was a new experience for me. Honestly, I was still working through some of my fears as I buckled in. I received training before taking off from #7 Crew Chief, Nathan Lyons, and knew that if I remembered what I had learned and stuck together with Lt. Bratton, we would accomplish something amazing.

 Once we were finally in the air, it was incredible! At one point, we were traveling at almost the speed of sound. We did barrel rolls and loops, something I never imagined doing in a plane. This experience went beyond my wildest imagination!

 It’s my hope for Jalen, Owen, and for every Shawnee Mission student, that they get the chance to achieve their dreams. Whether they are like Lt. Bratton, knowing from age five what they want to be, or a high school senior figuring out their own personal learning plan, I want every student to dream big.

 I do want to extend a special thanks to the US Navy Blue Angels and Lt. Bratton for this opportunity, and to Jalen, Owen, and their teacher, Dennis Grayless for sharing this experience with me.

 I am truly honored to begin my role as Superintendent of Shawnee Mission Schools this week, achieving another personal dream. On behalf of the Board and Shawnee Mission Leadership Team we are excited to officially begin the 2021-2022 school year.  As we work as a community, I know that by sticking together we can achieve greatness and help every student, no matter their personal path, achieve unlimited possibilities.

 Dr. Michelle Hubbard, Superintendent