• IDRA Newsletter • January 1999
Southwest Airlines sponsored 15 Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program tutors on its first nonstop flight from San Antonio to Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Tutors from South San Antonio High School and Kazen Middle School flew to Washington, D.C., in December to meet their fellow tutors in Washington, D.C., for the first time. All round-trip tickets for the flight were provided to the tutors and their chaperones by Southwest Airlines.
The tutors visited the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program tutors from Lincoln Middle School in the nation’s capitol for a “Leadership Day” where they participated in team building and leadership activities. They also toured the city together. They had a private, guided tour through the White House arranged by Congressman Ciro Rodriguez; toured the National Air and Space Museum; rode subways and trains; and visited the Lincoln Monument and the Korean War and Viet-Nam Conflict Memorials. Reporters from two local television stations accompanied the tutors on their trip and then aired stories on their evening news later in the week.
A send-off ceremony was held for the San Antonio students at the airport boarding gate, with congratulatory remarks made by Congressman Ciro Rodriguez, South San Antonio Independent School District Superintendent Robert C. Zamora, and Pete Martinez representing the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of the Southwest.
“Our main objective is to keep students in school,” Dr. Abelardo Villarreal, IDRA Director of Professional Development, told the crowd.
When asked by reporters what he got out of his experience in the program, 14-year-old Jesse Moreno said, “patience, more friends, and [the satisfaction of] knowing that you help them get a better grade or something.” Jesse is a freshman at South San Antonio High School, and he tutors third grade students.
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[©1999, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the January 1999 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]