Alyssa Takeshita-Kaufman, 15, a 10th-grade student with the KEYS program, is active in the Civil Air Patrol at March Air Reserve Base and had the opportunity to ride onboard a KC-135 Stratotanker, which is used to refuel other planes in flight.
She joined the Patrol, she said, as an opportunity to learn leadership and discipline; it has also given her the chance to become CPR/First Aid-certified, receive training in basic triage and “I have even piloted a plane.”
Here is Alyssa’s account of her ride on the Stratotanker: The flight that I went on on December 18th was aboard a KC-135 Stratotanker. Before my CAP unit ate lunch and boarded, a ceremony took place. Three people made speeches, including the March ARB Base Commander, Col. Matthew Burger. Elinor Otto, one of the original Rosie the Riveters, also spoke, followed by a question and answer session. She is 98 years old. I asked a question and was on the news because of it. After the ceremony, everyone got to shake hands with Ms. Otto and then boarded buses to head over to the plane. The plane was so loud on takeoff that the crew gave everyone earplugs. Once we were in the air, I was able to take the plugs out. The flight was originally going to go over the Grand Canyon but we ended up going up the coast to San Francisco. I was able to see our tanker refuel a C-17 Globemaster in the air. The flight lasted about 2 ½ – 3 hours.
Alyssa lives in Lake Elsinore. She first began attending Springs schools five years ago; she has been homeschooled since 1st grade. She likes Springs, she said, because “it lets us design our own curriculum and gives us a lot of support.”
She transitioned to KEYS, she said, “because it has many opportunities, like dual enrollment in college classes and the CTE program, where I can graduate with a professional certificate in visual arts. I can also learn and work at my own pace, which is one way I can accommodate having ADD.”
After graduation, she plans on studying the life sciences, specifically biology and animal studies. She hopes to become a conservationist “and help protect the animals that I love.”
The Civil Air Patrol, or CAP, is the U.S. Air Force auxiliary unit with standards mirroring those used by the U.S. Air Force. It is a non-profit civilian volunteer organization. Its three main missions are aerospace education, emergency services, and cadet programs. Members help at air shows, military appreciation events, community service events and Christmas time events.
Outside of school, Alyssa enjoys reading, video games, art, photography, animals, sports and family time.
She said, “I love learning about new things and enjoy doing hands-on activities.”