Monday, November 9, 2015

Local Kershaw County students use their CATE, STEM skills to renovate an Army helicopter for Celebrate Freedom Foundation

ATEC students work on a Celebrate Freedom Foundation helicopter. Brig. Gen. Kok will thank them on Nov. 10 at the unveiling.

U.S. Army Recruiting Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Troy Kok, the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Columbia and students from the Applied Technology Education Campus (ATEC) will show case a “new” Army helicopter.
Kok, an Army aviator, will unveil the newest Celebrate Freedom Foundation (CFF) helicopter and recognize the students responsible for the restored Army AH-1F Cobra helicopter. This event will be on Tuesday, November 10, 10:30 a.m. at ATEC, 874 Vocational Lane, Camden, SC 29020.
ATEC’s 33 auto collision, welding, digital art and design, and graphic design students—who collectively worked a total of 1000+ hours—refurbished the Viet Nam, Desert Storm and Bosnia combat veteran helicopter as a semester project which began in August. The auto collision students completed a 16-step process to including washing, degreasing, sanding, welding, painting and polishing the aircraft with a Bengal Tiger paint scheme. Graphics communication students designed and submitted several graphic options to the ARMY and CFF to complement the paint work. Digital art and design students created and installed the vinyl graphics. Students learned aircraft maintenance, safety and airframe skills during the steps. An additional 35 culinary arts students will prepare food for the recognition ceremony. 
ATEC provides career and technology education (CATE) to students throughout the Kershaw County School District in grades 10-12. “Working on this project allowed opportunities to reinforce STEM skills that are essential for working with auto collision repair technology today and tomorrow,” said ATEC Auto Collision Instructor David Weaver. “The helicopter project reinforced skills needed to work on a modern aluminum intensive vehicle.”
CFF’s Project SOaR™ (Student/School Opportunities and Rewards) is an educational outreach program that supports STEM courses in middle and high schools. The program also informs students of opportunities that are available to them, particularly in the field of aviation. “All of the Celebrate Freedom Foundation Army aircraft are $10 million assets we bring to the schools for the students to see and learn STEM concepts from in an interactive way to complement their current curriculums,” said CFF President Jack Lovelady. The newest helicopter will be named Lena is honor of Lena Horne.
CFF acquired five AH-1F Cobra helicopters when the Army took them out of commission in 2001. Columbia Recruiting Battalion is one of many battalions who has partnered with CFF to use the aircraft and lesson plans that connects STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) training and brings classroom teaching to life. This educates young people about jobs they can aspire to get after graduation and students also learn more about the Army.

For more information about this event, please contact Leslie Ann Sully at (404) 808-2317 or or Mary Anne Byrd at (803) 432-8416
For more CFF information, visit their website:

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