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Holy Name Catholic School Students Take Flight for STEM Education

August 22, 2016 | posted by Stephen Chavez, Hope for the Future

Topics: Catholic Schools, Hope for the Future

Holy Name Catholic School Students Take Flight for STEM Education

San Antonio – Eighth grade students from Holy Name Catholic School on the city’s Southeast side sat in a classroom learning how to calculate terminal velocity of objects. While it sounds like a normal Thursday in the classroom, the setting was beyond the traditional.

The 17 students from the Archdiocese of San Antonio parochial school were learning the science behind skydiving, as the group prepared to take flight in indoor skydiving at San Antonio’s newest attraction, iFly.

“At Holy Name Catholic School not only do we provide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education for our students,” said the school’s principal, Belia McDonald, “we provide STREAM which includes Religion and Art.”

The educational field trip, which occurred just days after starting the new school year, is the first of several interactive experiences the students will encounter throughout their eighth grade year.

“We feel that it’s important for students to learn inside the classroom, but they also need to experience and have opportunities to engage in hands-on learning,” said McDonald. She believes preparing students to be a part of the 21st Century workforce includes encouraging them to solve problems creatively and working as a team.


After students made some calculations, they zipped up their flight suits and stepped into the wind tunnel to witness their education-in-action. It was evident the students absorbed the lesson as they understood what the wind “sees” and how a surface area controls your movement while in flight.

Ileana, eighth-grader at Holy Name said, “It looks easier than it actually is,” after stepping out of the wind tunnel.

“The classroom work helped to give me the foundation to learn why you’re able to fly,” said eighth grade student, Riley.

McDonald said she approached the experience similar to a lab setting. They want the students to learn in a different environment to create interest within STEM career fields. By the smiles and laughter of the students after the experience, it looked like McDonald had accomplished her goal.

“It was really fun. It’s something different,” said Ileana.