Westwood Gala Helps Student’s Interest in Flight Soar
Brookside student Michael Atkins was able to live his dream of riding in an airplane after his family won an auction benefiting the Westwood-Washington Township Education Foundation.
Thanks to this year’s Westwood-Washington Township Education Foundation Gala and a teacher with a passion for flying, fourth-grader Michael Atkins fulfilled a dream of riding in a plane.
Atkins, a student at Brookside Elementary School in Westwood, recently flew with Brookside fifth grade teacher Brian Adkins in his Cessna. The two took off, with the student’s mother Linda Atkins giving a “thumbs up” to going along for the ride, at Greenwood Lake Airport in West Milford.
Adkins, also commercial pilot, donated the flight as part of the gala’s fifth annual fundraiser. This year’s gala, which included an online auction where the flight was offered, raised about $50,000 for the district’s social studies curriculum.
After the flight, Michael Atkins gave a big smile.
“It was awesome,” he said.
Michael's mother said she enjoyed seeing her son have the opportunity to fly.
“We are fortunate to have teachers to offer this on their own time," Linda said. "I think he (Michael) got a great introduction to science.”
A teacher for nearly three decades, Adkins said he was happy to donate the flight for such a good cause. Adkins has had an interest in flying since he was 10 years old and experienced his first flight at age 15.
“I like going where the birds go,” Adkins said.
Thanks to the success of the last five galas, the WWTEF has donated about $300,000 to the Westwood Regional School District. This year’s gala was held in March at Seasons Restaurant in Washington Township. The WWTEF is an independent, nonprofit organization comprised of parents and community members.
Editor's note: This article was provided by Margie Druss Fodor on behalf of the Westwood-Washington Township Education Foundation.