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NEWS RELEASES 2006-07 :: DECEMBER 12, 2006


What better way to commemorate the Wright Brothers' first flight than to watch young aeronautics engineers fly their first planes?

On Friday, Dec. 15, beginning at 10 a.m., the world can watch these young aeronautics engineers in training as they experience flight through their shoebox gliders, which will later fill the air over the Halifax Mall outside the Education Building, 301 N. Wilmington Street, Raleigh. The Third Annual Great Shoebox Glider Challenge Air Show is a hands-on, inquiry-based learning experience facilitated by NASA's Digital Learning Network and sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction's Distance Learning Section.

Teams from three states accepted the challenge and the following five schools representing elementary, middle and high schools were selected to present their research to the NASA Challenge Master via 2-way videoconferencing:

  • Pisgah Forest Elementary School (Transylvania County Schools, NC)
  • Millennium Charter Academy (Mount Airy, NC)
  • South Fayette Middle School (South Fayette, PA)
  • Gray Stone Day Charter School (Misenheimer, NC)
  • Forestview High School (Gaston County Schools, NC)

In addition, Dr. Mary Schweitzer, a world-famous molecular paleontologist and astrobiologist from North Carolina State University, will receive the "Fly Your Dreams" Award and describe how she pursued her dream of dinosaur research.

Following the awards ceremony, students will celebrate flight by flying their shoebox gliders in the Great Shoebox Glider Air Show. Gary Stephenson, Chief Meteorologist at News 14 Carolina-Raleigh, will host the event. Stephenson is an avid pilot and the first recipient of the "Fly Your Dreams" Award.

The event will run live on the Web from 10 a.m. - 12 noon and viewers can interact via the Instant Message Board. Visit NCDPI's Distance Learning Web site at or contact Cris Crissman at or 919.807.3582 for more information.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.