OSHKOSH — The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and Piper Aircraft hostde a special group of students and their teacher from Appleton, Wis., Thursday, July 31, during AirVenture Oshkosh 2014.
A number of years ago, Woodland Elementary School fifth grade teacher Eric Vander Loop’s teacher’s aide shared that his mother had been diagnosed with cancer. Vander Loop saw an opportunity to help while teaching his students about kindness to strangers.
Since then, students at the school district in Appleton have raised more than $120,000 for cancer research, a compassionate outcome that earned Vander Loop a recent opportunity to represent the Milwaukee Brewers during the All-Star game as one of 30 winners of People magazine and Major League Baseball’s All-Star Teachers campaign presented by Target. The students that began the program in fifth grade are high school juniors today.
When Piper’s Senior Manager of Marketing, Rorie Ainbinder, who coordinates Piper’s airshow exhibits, read about Vander Loop and his students in the People article, she thought of friends and family who have been impacted by cancer. She also saw an opportunity to reach out to an extraordinary teacher and his special students by giving them a day to remember at Oshkosh.
Ainbinder arranged for the teacher and his students to have their admissions to AirVenture and lunches provided by Piper and she enlisted the support of EAA and AOPA to make the day even more special. EAA gave the group a VIP tour and AOPA offered the kids a membership in AOPA’s AV8Rs program for aspiring aviators.
“Piper has been very active for a number of years in raising funds to fight cancer, and nearly everyone has been or will be touched in some way by this disease,”Ainbinder said. “So when this opportunity came along to give back to an exceptional teacher and group of special kids, we jumped on it with EAA and AOPA.”