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Aviation Awareness Day at the Movies

January 23, 2012

© Houston Airport System
Director Mario C. Diaz was one of several speakers on hand to encourage the young people in attendance.
Do you have “The Right Stuff?” That was the challenge from Houston Airport System’s Aviation Director, Mario C. Diaz as he looked more than 600 students in their eyes and encouraged them to strive for excellence.

The eager young people were from Aldine and Houston Independent School Districts and had a chance to network with aviation professionals, plus view the new film “Red Tails” which highlights the service and sacrifice of the Tuskegee Airmen.

“It was an exciting day of history and excellence,” said Rhonda Arnold, director of community affairs for the Houston Airport System. “It was a great honor to give the due respect to these wonderful pioneers and aviators.”

Several organizations sponsored the community event including the Houston Airport System, United Airlines, FAA, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Texas Southern University, the National Housing Alliance, Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) and the National Coalition of Black Federal Aviation Employees (NCBFAE).

"The history of our country is one of perseverance and achievement in the face of extreme obstacles and resistance,” offered pilot Xavier Samuels, Southwest regional vice president of OBAP. “These men proved there is nothing you can't achieve if you pursue it with your heart and soul and that’s what we wanted to instill in our young people."

Council Member Jerry Davis, representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Business Opportunity and also members of the Human Performance Technology group from the Houston Airport System participated. The students were able to talk with pilots, flight attendants, engineers and other professionals about the history of aviation and what’s in store for the future. Many of the students from Aldine ISD will soon attend the new school named in honor of General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., an original Tuskegee Airman.

“The movie served as a platform for a mini aviation camp which included exhibits and representatives from the aviation industry interacting with the students,” said Fernell Hogan, National Housing Alliance. “It took a collective effort to execute such a spectacular community event, and in the end it exceeded all expectations.”

The next stop is taking career day to schools in February when the Houston Airport System participates in “Pilots and Professionals” week.
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