AC teacher wins Unsung Hero funds

    Adams Central High School vocational teacher Jonathan Patterson has been awarded $2,000 by the ING financial services firm as part of its Unsung Heroes program for educators.
    An announcement says the awards go to teachers "who have a significant impact on the lives of youth, but remain tremendously underappreciated and unrecognized."
    Only 100 Unsung Hero awards were given out this year. Unsung Heroes started 15 years ago.
    Patterson, who lives in Berne, said in a news release that he will put his $2,000 gift toward a project he created called "Where Flight Takes Place.
    He also is in the running for three national prizes from ING: $25,000 or $10,000 or $5,000.
    The announcement says Patterson's project involves 25 ACHS students as they "step out of traditional classroom to become engineers, pilots, and astronauts. As the only [high school] aerospace course offered in northern Indiana, the overall goal is for the students to be able to express ideas through design, demonstrate theories through technology, and master concepts associated with aerospace engineering."
    The announcement adds that AC students will study the parts of an aircraft and "learn all aspects of a Cessna airplane by viewing a labeled scale model. The students will illustrate their comprehension of the parts by using flight simulator software and a computer joystick purchased with an ING grant.
    "Patterson will become their flight instructor and copilot, teaching them how to take off, fly, land, and maneuver an airplane," ING said in a statement. "Before the flight, students will learn how to navigate through the air using waypoints. Students will use handheld global positioning system units to navigate around the school [and] will demonstrate comprehension of aerodynamics.
    "Ultimately, the [student] team will have to build a robot to place inside the aircraft that will collect samples from Mars — their top-secret simulated mission."