County BOB Teams Make Real World Connections

By David Broyles
Mt. Airy News, The (NC)
September 11, 2014

Battle of the Books (BOB) Teams from Rockford, Dobson, and Copeland teamed up on a first-of-a-kind field trip to help students make real world connections Wednesday as they talked with pilots Mark and Jenette Hege at the Mount Airy-Surry County Airport.

David Broyles | The News Students Mariela Trejo (left) and Grace Harrison appeared pleased to take their turn in the cockpit of a Learjet at the Mount Airy-Surry County Airport. The two were part of a group of Battle of the Books team members from three county elementary schools inspired by the book “Hatchet” to learn more about airplanes.

Students Mariela Trejo (left) and Grace Harrison appeared pleased to take their turn in the cockpit of a Learjet at the Mount Airy-Surry County Airport. The two were part of a group of Battle of the Books team members from three county elementary schools inspired by the book “Hatchet” to learn more about airplanes.
David Broyles | The News

Mark Hege is a corporate pilot for Renfro Corp., and his wife, Jenette, who also flew for the company, were on hand to field questions about airplanes and take students from the three schools on a tour of their Learjet in its hangar at the airfield. Mount Park Elementary plans to join in more joint field trips in the future.

“Usually, the most common questions I get are how high and how fast does the plane go,” said Mark Hege. “Or have I ever crashed. My answer is no to that one.”

David Broyles | The News Pilot Jenette Hege talks with Battle of the Books team members about a 18-year-old Learjet she and her husband, Mark, have flown for Renfro Corp. Students toured the Mount Airy-Surry County Airport as they studied the book “Hatchet” which is on the academic competition's reading list.

Pilot Jenette Hege talks with Battle of the Books team members about a 18-year-old Learjet she and her husband, Mark, have flown for Renfro Corp. Students toured the Mount Airy-Surry County Airport as they studied the book “Hatchet” which is on the academic competition’s reading list.
David Broyles | The News

It’s all about recognizing and remembering the details for Rockford BOB coach Pattie Holcomb. She explained the field trip was inspired by the work “Hatchet” written by Gary Paulsen. The 1987 work, the first in a series, won the Newbery Honor. It centers on a 13-year-old traveling on a Cessna 406 bush plane to visit his father in the oil fields in northern Canada for the summer.

The pilot suffers a massive heart attack and dies and the boy crashes into a lake in the forest. He must then learn to survive on his own, with nothing but his hatchet, a gift his mother gave him shortly before his plane departed. Holcomb said earlier attempts had been rained out.

“We are trying to make real world connections with activities like this,” said Holcomb. “We’re also trying to tie the central district together better. Another benefit is when they get to competition they aren’t facing strangers.”

Battle of the Books team member Regan Reece takes a closer look at the wing of a Learjet in its hanger at the Mount Airy-Surry County Airport. Central district teams are working together on a variety of field trips to support students’ eye for detail and to make real world connections to Battle of the Books literature.
David Broyles | The News

She said she had noticed the students “picking up on things” better and remembering details. Other similar activities have included a BOB lock-in at Rockford Elementary, Surry Central athletes playing wiffle ball — the book had a baseball theme — with the teams. She said another important part of the group trips was to make more ties in the community.

Rockford Coach Rebecca Bennett said she enjoyed teams paired up with five pieces of paper and set the task of designing and making the most airplanes which could fly into a “safe zone.”

“This is the first time we have done this together as teams,” said Bennett. “They had to really get down to some decisions and work together to make five different models of (paper) airplanes. They are making the connections. One pointed out we were looking at a jet and not the bush plane int he book.”

David Broyles | The News Pilot Mark Hege talks with Battle of the Books team members from Rockford, Dobson and Copeland Elementary schools at the Mount Airy-Surry Airport. The groups were there as part of a central district field trip to allow children to make real world connections to the book “Hatchet,” which is one of the books on the academic competition's reading list.

Pilot Mark Hege talks with Battle of the Books team members from Rockford, Dobson and Copeland Elementary schools at the Mount Airy-Surry Airport. The groups were there as part of a central district field trip to allow children to make real world connections to the book “Hatchet,” which is one of the books on the academic competition’s reading list.
David Broyles | The News

Other events being planned include a night long scavenger hunt in various school libraries to supplement them reading the book, “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” and a candy making workshop with Surry Central culinary arts students inspired by the book, “The Candymakers.”

David Broyles may be reached at 336-415-4739 or on Twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.