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The National Aviation Hall of Fame Names Velvet Thomas as 2017 A. Scott Crossfield Aerospace Educator of Year

The Board of Trustees of the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) announced last month that its 2017 A. Scott Crossfield Aerospace Educator of Year award will be presented to Velvet Thomas during the 55th Annual Enshrinement Dinner and Ceremony in Fort Worth, TX on Oct. 28, 2017. 

The Crossfield Award, founded in 1986 by NAHF enshrinee, engineer and test pilot  A. Scott Crossfield (1921-2006), is a juried annual competition to recognize one K-12 teacher for his or her exemplary use of aerospace in their classroom curricula. Velvet Thomas, this year’s award recipient, currently teaches third grade at Golden Poppy Elementary School and is celebrated for her hands-on approach to aviation education. 

Thomas’ non-traditional lessons have included taking students to watch the space shuttle re-enter the atmosphere and visit the Sage Planetarium. Thomas has also held take off and landing simulations in class and even taught students the pilots alphabet.

“While most teachers say ‘no’ to paper airplanes in the classroom,” says Thomas’ colleague Jeff Greenberg, “her lessons have included making a paper hyper-jet to teach about jets and creating WWII paper airplanes to teach the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.” 

Thomas’ lessons don’t end in (or outside) the classroom. Her students regularly hear from guest speakers representing leading American aerospace organizations, including Northrop, Lockheed and NASA. Thomas embodies the Crossfield Award, and has inspired generations of students to dream about aviation as a career.

The National Aviation Hall of Fame, a not-for-profit organization, is the only Congressionally-chartered aviation hall of fame in the U.S. The NAHF honors the people: The industry leaders, pilots, aviators, engineers, scientists, astronauts and inventors who have made American aerospace what it is today.

The 55th Annual NAHF Enshrinement Dinner & Ceremony is open to the public by advance registration only. Sponsorship opportunities and individual seats are still available, but a capacity crowd is expected. To make reservations or for more information, visit or call 937-256-0944 ext.19.

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