Mullenix Ridge Principal Barbara Pixton Kailey Colombo enjoys a ride over Seattle before landing on Mullenix Ridge’s lawn. She said she is going to “work my hardest to get good grades and become a pilot when I grow up.”

Kailey Colombo experiences dream ride to school, sets sights on future


Kitsap News Group

Sixth-grader Kailey Colombo of Mullenix Ridge Elementary in Port Orchard got the ride of a lifetime on her way to school March 31.

By car, bus or boat? Nope. Kaylie was choppered in by the King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter.

As a part of Mullenix Ridge’s “personal passion for learning,” or PPL, Colombo got to ride in the sheriff’s office helicopter, see Seattle from the air and be the envy of her peers.

Colombo said she chose to research this project due to her curiosity about who pilots the helicopters she sees flying around the area.

“I always wondered who did that, and after finding out, I decided that would be a really cool job to do,” she said. “That’s kind of how I got interested in it.”

PPL is a yearly research project that creates learning opportunities incorporating reading, writing and research skills, Mullenix Ridge principal Barbara Pixton said.

“What a wonderful activity it is for every grade level,” Pixton said. “All have a personal passion for learning and it’s exciting.”

When Colombo took her ride March 31, she circled Puget Sound and eyed the Seattle skyline before landing on the field at Mullenix Ridge Elementary.

Pixton said the district office had to write a special policy concerning the helicopter landing.

“It’s never been done before in our district,” Pixton said.

“It was exciting for us, exciting for Kailey, for her entire class and several others. A couple of our special education classrooms got to participate also and see inside.”

In order to get this PPL project, Colombo talked to her parents about this being her topic. Her mom knew of a pilot to get her started, but she had to do the rest.

“She said I could go and talk to them, and that’s how I got in contact,” Colombo said. “I ended up talking to them and seeing if they could fly me to school.”

Colombo said the favorite part of her experience was getting to see the ground from above.

“It was very cool, and my whole class told me how cool it was,” she said.

Her airborne adventure is completed, but she still needs to write a report for her final project presentation. Unlike most homework assignments, Colombo is excited because this one has only solidified her desire to become a future pilot.

“I’m going to try. When I grow up, I want to be able to fly,” Colombo said.

“It takes a lot of hard work to become a pilot. I’m going to work my hardest and try to get good grades and put in the effort to achieve my goal.”

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