Hot air balloon presentation helps Arcadia students aim high

Pilot teaching kids as part of 'I am a Winner Project'

Arcadia Elementary School students got a chance walk through a hot air balloon on Tuesday morning.

It’s part of private hot air balloon pilot Travis Wagner’s “I am a Winner Project.” He teaches kids to aim high.

“Students can do whatever they set their mind to doing,” Wagner said.

As part of his presentation, Wagner told students a brief history and science of the hot air balloon and what it takes to be a pilot. He then let them walk through the fabric part of the balloon.  

 “I had a blast!” said first grader William. “We went in an air hot balloon and I got to see a lot of colors.”

Arcadia Elementary School Principal Paul Halverson said they wanted to bring the presentation to the school as a way to celebrate their students’ achievements.

“They just persevered through the WKCE (Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examinations) testing and we thought we’d bring in this—something to celebrate their perseverance,” Halverson said. “And that’s basically what his message is all about—persevering, wanting to be a winner.”

Wagner, who is from Elk Mound, Wisconsin, also had the students fill out a slip of paper that says, “I’m a winner.” He then posts those answers on his website, Aiming Higher so other students can see what kids their age wrote down.

“I just know that there are students that just need to hear the positive message that they are a winner,” Wagner said.