North Carolina school rewards pupils with balloon rides

As pupils at a school in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, recently finished their school year, some students had the chance to celebrate by taking a balloon ride.

Around 24 pupils took it in turns to say goodbye to their fellow students, while on board a hot air balloon. Lee Koch, the Principal of Ibraham Elementary School, asked aeronautics teacher Tony Colburn to bring along his hot air balloon to give rides to some of the students at the end of the school year. Pupils were transported up and down in the balloon, whilst it was tethered to cars parked in a field next to the school.

Colburn has been taking his balloon along to the school for several years, to provide a lesson in flying a balloon and also to act as a reward. Throughout the year, students were given fake money in return for good behaviour, which they could then use to purchase raffle tickets for the balloon ride. One winner was chosen from each class, although multiple entries could be made if the pupil had sufficient fake money to buy more raffle tickets.

Before setting off, the pilot gave the pupils an explanation of what would happen during the flight. He explained that it may be very warm in the basket, and that it may be noisy, so that the children weren’t alarmed. However, pupils of all ages enjoyed the balloon rides, describing it as “scary-fun”. Colburn has been a pilot for 20 years and has taken his hot air balloon to the school for the last seven years.

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