Valdosta > Afghan Pilots Visit Pine Grove Middle

| June 5, 2015

Photo #2 - Afghan Pilots speak at PGM

VALDOSTA — Afghan air force pilots and 81st Fighter Squadron members educated students about Afghan culture and traditions during a Q-and-A event May 20 at Pine Grove Middle School.

Luva Herman, Pine Grove Middle School sixth grade Social Studies teacher, organized the Q-and-A to help educate her class who is currently studying the Southwest Asia region. During one of her lessons, one of her students spoke about her father working with the 81st FS Afghan pilots, which sparked the idea of inviting the pilots to the school.

“Being able to have that interchange of different cultures is paramount in these students’ education,” said Herman. “Having this opportunity to meet the Afghan pilots means a lot to my class.”The students had the opportunity to ask the pilots questions about their upbringing, their families and their adjustment to being in the United States.

“I noticed the students picked up on how the Afghans care about their families just as much as Americans do,” said Herman. “Afghans are very family-oriented and the students saw firsthand how generous they are by offering them some authentic Afghan food,” she added. Prior to the event, one of the Afghan pilots prepared Afghanistan’s national dish, the qabili palau, for Herman’s class to enjoy.

She added the students also grasped how important building up natural resources is for strengthening Afghanistan’s economy. “By building that bridge of understanding [of a country’s needs], it will equip my students to be more accepting of other cultures and backgrounds later on in their lives,” said Herman.

Not only did the students gain some cultural knowledge, the Afghans also learned about the American school system. “The students here have extraordinary opportunities to learn at this school,” said one of the Afghan pilots. “It was apparent they were excited about learning.”

The Afghan pilot added he enjoys any opportunity for mentorship and would be more than happy to visit the school again. “It was a good opportunity for us to speak with these kids about our ways of life, a life not typically seen by others,” said the Afghan pilot.

After the Q-and-A, Herman presented a Pine Grove Champions award to the 81st Fighter Squadron for their participation in the students’ education and ended the event with closing remarks. “I’d like to thank the 81st Fighter Squadron and the Afghan pilots for coming out and helping our students,” said Herman. “It was a great experience for all of us at Pine Grove Middle School, and I hope we can host another event next school year.”

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