Challenger Elementary Students Meet Their Mascot
Students at Challenger Elementary were able to see their mascot, a real American Bald Eagle, up-close at a school assembly in the gym. The eagle shares the same name as the school, both of which were named after Space Shuttle Challenger. Members of the American Eagle Foundation gave a short lesson on eagles, along with a short flying demonstration. Students and staff were thrilled to have “Challenger” pay another visit to the school.
Dr. Michele Wallace, principal at Challenger Elementary, said that she “hopes the kids walk away with a lot of excitement. They’ll go home and remember what it was like to have a real eagle swooping over their head.” She adds that it was a great way to welcome the students back for a new school year.
Challenger was rescued from a storm in 1989, and due to the large amount of human contact, he was not able to be released back into the wild. Challenger was given to the American Eagle Foundation, and has since spent over 20 years making appearances at schools, sporting events, and national TV shows. His main activity is free-flying during the national anthem, but Laura Sterbens of the American Eagle Foundation says that they also “like to stop at schools […] and basically just share Challenger with the students, allow them the chance to meet them, and learn more about bald eagles.” She adds that she likes to help students learn about ways they can help with conservations efforts.
According to Dr. Wallace, the event served as a reminder to everyone. In her words, “that’s what we do here – we fly high.”