D.C. Police Officer Rewards Two MSSD Students with the Ride of a Lifetime
D.C. Police Officer Myra Wheeler-Jordan of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Unit (DHHU) knows teenagers well and believes in positive behavior supports. She wanted to reward two outstanding Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD) by recognizing them in a way that they would remember, and would impress their peers. Wheeler-Jordan asked the school to identify two seniors, one with the highest grade point average and the other with the most improved grade point average. The school nominated Oliver Lee as the student with the highest GPA and Marquita Whitfield as having the most improved GPA.
"Oliver Lee and Marquita Whitfield were honored for their hard work and motivation this year with a reward unlike any I've seen in my 15 years as an educator," said manager of student climate Charlene Ward, who accompanied the students on their journey on May 27. Officer Jordan arrived at the school in her squad car to escort the students and Ward to the D.C. Police helioport, located on the Anacostia River near the Nationals Stadium. Pilot Jeff McCormick had the Eurocopter Astar helicopter ready and waiting to take the students and Ward for a sightseeing tour of Washington, D.C. from the air! Prior to the ride, the officers reviewed safety rules and responded to the students' questions.
The helicopter lifted off and headed up and over the Nationals Stadium. The route took Lee and Whitfield to the National Monuments, the White House, the zoo, Arlington National Cemetery, Gallaudet and MSSD, and many more landmarks. The students took turns taking aerial photos.
On the ground, one more surprise awaited the students, courtesy of Officer Jordan. After the students landed and had a few minutes to de-brief with the officers, Officer Jordan whisked them off to the Marine Barracks in southeast D.C. for a ride in one of their high-speed patrol boats, a Zodiac Hurricane. The students and Ward headed down the Washington Channel and out into the Potomac River, with a larger police patrol boat with Officer Jordan and fellow officers following behind. The students picked up some nautical knowledge and on the return journey back into the "no wake" zone of the channel, the pilot gave each of them an opportunity to steer the boat.
The students loved the adventure. Whitfield said the helicopter ride was amazing and that it was "beautiful to see the scale of things from the air. It was really cool to see Ronald Reagan [Washington National] Airport." Lee liked driving the Zodiac and feeling the speed of the boat when the officer went full speed. Officer Jordan, with the support of the D.C. Police Department, was thrilled to be able to offer these hard working students the reward of a lifetime and they were thrilled to experience it.