Breaking News
More () »

Cloverdale Middle School students reach new heights to honor Tuskegee Airmen

How do you honor someone who paved the way for so many? While it’s not an easy assignment, a group of students at Cloverdale Middle School went to new heights.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — It can be difficult to honor someone who paved the way for many.

But Cloverdale Middle School has found a way.

16 middle school students at Cloverdale are members of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Cadets of the Crenchaw Memorial Squadron, named in honor of Milton Crenchaw, who served with the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II and is considered by many to be the father of Black aviation in Arkansas.

"Seeing an African American, and him being a male and me being a female, we're still African Americans," Cadet Senior Airmen Morgan Crawford said. "He did that, so I know for a fact I can do it."

Crawford signed up for the aerospace introduction class in the sixth grade and has been interested since.

Cloverdale Middle School introduced the class in 2010.

Maj. Garrick St. Pierre is the 801st Crenchaw Memorial Squadron Commander. 

"They are learning the basics of aerospace," St. Pierre said. "How airplanes fly and Newton's laws."

On Saturday, the students took what they had learned in the classroom and applied it in person on an aircraft.

"The program also positions our students at Cloverdale to be able to go into those universities with a little bit more information... seek engineering and other STEM degrees as well," St. Pierre said.

Two cadets were paired with CAP instructors to learn the plane's operations, taxied on the runway and took off.

While in the air, the students took turns taking control of the plane.

"Giving our students every possibility to succeed in a world that seems that sometimes things... are stacked against them," St. Pierre said.

Crawford, who is grateful this program keeps her schedule busy, pays it forward to her peers.

"I try to talk to them," Crawford said. "Have them join CAP and try to have them do something more productive in their life."

Anyone 12 years old and older can join the Civil Air Patrol.

Before You Leave, Check This Out