"Welcome to Tiger Airlines!” Ginger Whitehead called to students and their families entering Glen Rose Elementary School Thursday night.
By day, Ms. Whitehead teaches second grade. But on this night, she was wearing a uniform and getting students and their families ready to embark on a global journey inside the building.
She was joined by Tom Lounsberry, a Glen Rose ISD board of trustee member who was wearing his real pilot’s uniform from his stint as a pilot at American Airlines.
They welcomed visitors to ‘It’s a Small World,” this year’s theme for the annual learning event held at GRES. No passport was needed and one could globe trot without jet lag.
Inside “Glen Rose International Airport,” the elementary school was transformed into an international gateway for many destinations. Teachers and Glen Rose High School students who assisted were dressed in colorful costumes reflecting particular cultures.
Our first stop was Czechoslavakia, where delicious pastries known as kolaches were a big hit with students.
Then we took a short hop to India, where Glen Rose High School students dressed in saris treated passers-by to tastes of curry and photos of the Taj Mahal.
Educational exhibits were set up all around the inside perimeter and in the big open space at the school. You could sample hot dogs at the “I Love New York” stop, then jump on over to Israel and learn about the Dead Sea.
One of the most popular exhibits with the kids was the Egypt destination, where students could chip away at a chunk of stone and learn how the pyramids were built.
Tulips and blue cups decorated with paper blades to look like windmills transported kids to Holland, while puzzles of jungle animals kept hands busy at the Brazil destination.
One of the largest exhibits depicted Mexico, where kids learned how to make bright paper flowers.
And one of the most clever uses of imagination and ingenuity came at the Grecian exhibit. Hoolahoops of different colors hung from the ceiling to create the signature rings of the Olympic games.
After visiting the various “terminals” and gates housing the exhibits, kids and their families headed outside to watch an AirEvac helicopter land on the grass. Students got to sit at the controls and get their pictures snapped.
The event showed that it is a small world, after all, and that the mind -- and learning -- can take us anywhere.