Home World Blackhawk helicopter makes a special visit to San Jose school

Blackhawk helicopter makes a special visit to San Jose school

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There are some things you just don’t expect to happen in a residential neighborhood in San Jose. Like a U.S. Army helicopter touching down at an elementary school.

“Since the school opened in 1959, it’s safe to say only birds, kites and maybe drones have landed on our field,” said Sartorette Elementary School Principal Debbie Stein, “but never a Blackhawk military helicopter.”

But that’s exactly what happened just after 1 p.m. Friday, as more than 300 Sartorette students, faculty and parents watched the dark green chopper approach the Cambrian Park school from the south and land on its field to cheers. The special visit was arranged through the California National Guard to celebrate the completion of the drug awareness program called DARE by the school’s fifth-graders, who got to explore the helicopter.

Students and faculty gather to take a school photo in front of a Blackhawk medical helicopter that landed on the field at Sartorette Elementary School in San Jose on Friday, May 31, 2024. The visit, arranged by the California National Guard, was to celebrate the completion of DARE, an drug awareness program, by the school's fifth-graders. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)
Students and faculty gather to take a school photo in front of a Blackhawk medical helicopter that landed on the field at Sartorette Elementary School in San Jose on Friday, May 31, 2024. The visit, arranged by the California National Guard, was to celebrate the completion of DARE, an drug awareness program, by the school’s fifth-graders. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group) 

Sartorette is piloting the DARE program for Cambrian School District, so for the past 10 weeks, fifth-grade students have gotten weekly visits from two members of the National Guard who talked to them about ways to avoid drugs and lead healthier lifestyles. One of them, Staff Sgt. Victor Del Real was at the school for Friday’s big event, providing updates to Stein as the helicopter made its way to San Jose from Fresno.

Stein first heard a helicopter visit was a possibility last fall and worked for months with the National Guard to make it happen. She was told this was the first time the National Guard had been able to get clearance to land a helicopter at a school, which clearly involves a lot of logistical planning. Stein made sure San Jose police were notified about it, and neighbors got wind of it recently on Next Door after the school advertised it on their sign. Several residents lined up along the fence on adjacent Noreen Drive to watch the midday spectacle.

Principal Debbie Stein stands next to the field at Sartorette Elementary School in San Jose where a Blackhawk medical helicopter had landed just minutes before on Friday, May 31, 2024. The visit, arranged by the California National Guard, was to celebrate the completion of DARE, an drug awareness program, by the school's fifth-graders. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)
Principal Debbie Stein stands next to the field at Sartorette Elementary School in San Jose where a Blackhawk medical helicopter had landed just minutes before on Friday, May 31, 2024. The visit, arranged by the California National Guard, was to celebrate the completion of DARE, an drug awareness program, by the school’s fifth-graders. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group) 

San Jose City Councilmember Pam Foley also was on hand to witness the historic event in her district, too.

“What a fun way to reward these students for all their hard work with the DARE program,” Foley said. “Having a Blackhawk helicopter landing is awesome.”

And undoubtedly more interesting than anything going on at City Hall on a Friday afternoon.

CHAIRS OF CREATIVITY: Students at Yavneh Day School in Los Gatos expressed their creativity and emotion with the completion of “A Seat at the Table: A Feast of Jewish Identity,” a semester-long project inspired by artist Judy Chicago’s famous feminist installation, “The Dinner Party.”

Art teachers Judy Murphy and Julie Krigel provided students with recycled chairs and then encouraged them to reimagine them, altering the chairs — removing upholstery, sawing off pieces, painting the chairs a new color or adding pieces made of different materials. In addition to exploring their creativity, some students expressed their sentiments about the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

The display will be on view during the Art Walk at the school, which starts at 5:30 p.m. Monday. You can get more information on the event at jvalley.org.

HITTING THE BRICKS: Legoland Discovery Center Bay Area in Milpitas will crown a new Mini Master Model Builder this weekend. More than 50 Lego enthusiasts between ages 5-12 submitted photos of their builds and shared why they deserve the title over the past few weeks. That group has now been narrowed down to 10 finalists who will be put to the test Sunday.



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