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Washington Montessori’s Principal Paul Travers takes to the skies


Cheers and waves erupt from students and staff at Washington Montessori School in Greensboro as Paul Travers, the school’s principal, flies above in a Cessna 172 single propeller airplane. Photo by Ivan Saul Cutler/Carolina Peacemaker.[/caption]

To the cheers and excited waves of students and staff, high-flying Washington Montessori Principal Paul Travers soared in flight over the East Greensboro school to deliver the morning messages.

“Yes, a really cool experience,” he said. “For me and students, we gained new perspectives of our school and a discussion of possibilities. Whether students aspire to be pilots or any other profession or service, this flight was just another way for them to see and learn about our community and world.”

Paul Travers
Once a week throughout the school year, Travers, the Guilford County Schools’ Principal of the Year speaks to students from an off campus venue. As an end of the school year surprise, the upbeat Travers greeted the students with clues to his location.

While Travers hinted at his lofty location, 14 students seated outside guessed quickly, hearing and seeing the audible Cessna 172 single propeller airplane circling the school. On monitors outside and inside, all students saw Travers aboard the airplane. Earlier in the year, the principal conducted a couple of Destination days — usually on Wednesday and this time on Monday — announcements at Triad Aviation Academy based at nearby Piedmont Triad International Airport. For the current flight, the aviation company invited Travers to speak to students from one of its aircraft.

Originally planned the previous week, unfavorable weather conditions forced the rescheduled flight. This time under mostly clear blue skies, Travers and his first time flying 8-year-old son, Breez, arrived early morning at the airport a 6 o’clock, checked in for preflight arrangements and instructions. About an hour later, they were airborne, flying over the school at about 7:50 a.m. for nearly 10 minutes.

The lucky students outside constituted the current Weekly Washingtonians, recognized for their academic work, citizenship and adhering to the school’s motto of honoring community, exhibiting excellence in all they do and thinking critically.

For the next school year, the safe assumption is Paul Travers will speak again on a zip line at the Greensboro Science Center, beside an historical monument, in the infield where the Grasshoppers play baseball or, if attending a conference as he did in New York, from Central Park and Times Square.