Airshow pilots visit Western Heights Elementary

The Kia of Lake Charles Chennault International Airshow brought two of its pilots to visit with students at Western Heights Elementary School on Thursday. Jacqueline “Jacquie B” Warda and Josh “Tater” Boudreaux shared their passion and experiences in the sky with the students, focusing on the importance of hard work and education.

Among the questions students posed ranged from crashes to overcoming fear.

“Everything is about learning,” Ward told students.

Even as a little girl, Warda said she dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps and being a pilot. It took 32 years for her live out her dream, she said, because growing up women traditionally did not aspire to such careers.

“I was afraid I wasn’t smart enough. I was afraid to try,” she said.

At age 50, she went to another level in her career as an aerobatic pilot. She told students that Amelia Earhart was a major influence in her decision to pursue her dreams to the highest of limits.

“What one man or woman can do, another man or woman can do,” she said.

Boudreaux, a Louisiana native, is a multi-deployment combat veteran. A former Thunderbird pilot, Boudreaux told students, “You’ve got to be ready for anything” no matter what career path they choose.

Like the airshow this weekend where he will fly for the Wild Blue Rodeo, his passion for flight was birthed at the first airshow he attended as a child. He chose the military saying it was the perfect opportunity to learn the skill, travel the world and serve a greater cause.

“I don’t do it because it’s easy. I do it because it’s hard, and when it’s hard and we succeed that’s when it’s really fun,” he told students.

Mallory Wall, education outreach director for the airshow, said the show’s main purpose is to improve STEM education outreach within Southwest Louisiana.

“We know that the growing economy and the changing job market means students who have a strong background in STEM are far more likely to get a great paying job and be able to build a life within the community they live in,” she said.

The airshow starts tonight and will continue through Sunday.


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‘I don’t do it because it’s easy. I do it because it’s hard, and when it’s hard and we succeed, that’s when it’s really fun.’

Josh ‘Tater’ Boudreaux

Aviation pilot and native of Louisiana


Donna Price / American Press Airshow aviator Jacqueline “Jacquie B” Warda interacts with a group of Western Heights Elementary students Thursday morning.

Donna Price

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