More than 7,000 students attended the 2019 Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana Air Show, including 1,300 fifth grade students from Chesapeake Public Schools, breaking the Guinness World Record for the largest field trip, Sept. 20.
The day before the air show officially opened to the public, students were invited to attend the show’s outdoor science, technology, mathematics, and technology (STEM) laboratories.
“I love to volunteer at the STEM tents because it’s so great to see little kids, and even Sailors, become aware of what the Navy is doing and what it offers,” said Lt. Laura Clarke, assigned to U.S. Fleet Forces at the Stewards of the Sea station. “We as a Navy do a lot to make sure we operate in safe oceans.”
Some of the stations included Code Ninja, Navy Heritage Command, Submarine Forces, robot races, slime making, virtual-reality flying simulation, robot driving and diving, aluminum ship building, electrical engineering, as well as an interactive dive tank with submerged U.S. Navy divers and explosive ordnance technicians who played tic-tac-toe and wrote messages to kids.
“I’ve never seen an air show like this that has such great learning opportunities for the kids,” said Ship’s Serviceman 1st Class Melissa Flot, a mother chaperoning her son’s class and assigned to Naval Station Norfolk. “They have an innovative way to teach kids and it’s really reaching them.”
Students from Grassfield High School’s Governor’s STEM Academy and Deep Creek High School’s Science and Medicine Academy participated in the event, running demonstration tables and providing hands-on learning activities for the fifth graders.
The previous Guinness World Record was held by students of Guido de Brès School and the Attraction Park Walibi Holland (both Netherlands), in Biddinghuizen, Netherlands in 2013.
“I enjoy teaching and seeing the kids’ eyes widen with what they’ve learned,” said Capt. Joan Malik, assigned to U.S. Fleet Forces, who has been teaching STEM for 13 years. “I’m happy as long as I’ve taught them just one little thing.”
This year marked the 60th Annual Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show and celebrated the 76th anniversary of NAS Oceana. Originally opened in 1943 in the mudflats of Virginia Beach, NAS Oceana is now the Navy’s East Coast Master Jet Base and home to all of Naval Aviation’s F-18 Hornets and Super Hornets. This year’s theme was Thunder Over Oceana, as the Air Force Thunderbirds were the main attraction.