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Davis Journal

Kids soar to new heights as another school year begins

Sep 01, 2022 02:30PM ● By Becky Ginos

BOUNTIFUL—More than 70,000 kids in the Davis School District returned to school on Monday to hit the books for another year. Boulton Elementary students got an extra surprise as a hot air balloon lifted off outside the school. Boulton’s theme this year is “Soar to new heights.”

“When we fly we like to touch the water,” said pilot Kent J. Barnes, who taught the kids about balloons during an assembly before the launch. “We call it splash and dash.”

Barnes showed the children pictures of different kinds of balloons of all shapes and sizes. “The one we’re using today is the Belle Star and it could fit the equivalent of 90,000 basketballs inside,” he said. “This other one is up to 600,000 basketballs.”

The balloons are sensitive to weather, said Barnes. “Ten days ago we started to plan this. We watched the weather and then the day of we called the FAA for an official briefing.”

“Hot air balloons are cool,” said a first grader when Barnes opened it up to questions. 

“Has a balloon ever popped?” asked a second grader. 

“How much does it cost to fly?” a sixth grader asked. 

“It’s about $175 an hour to keep a balloon in the air,” Barnes said. 

Barnes said he’s only had one person in 20 years who has gotten in the basket and chickened out. “They’re the only one that said ‘put me on the ground.’”

Bountiful Mayor Kendalyn Harris talked to the kids before her ride in the balloon. “You might not know what you want to be when you grow up,” she said. “It’s OK, you’ll figure it out. I wanted to be an author and write books. Whatever you want to be, figure out how to get there. You might want to be a teacher, a police officer or maybe a plumber or someone who builds a house. Those are all great things to be.”

Take the steps, said Harris. “Learn all you can. Do your best in school so you can earn a scholarship. Find somebody to talk to about your dreams who will encourage you. Believe that you can do hard things.”

It takes practice, she said. “But you can do it. These are little steps that take you closer to your goal. It’s good to help others who are behind you, reach out to help and serve. Like the balloon flying high into the sky little by little you’ll reach your goals and dreams.”

Sometimes it’s not easy, Harris said. “But it’s worth the work.”

Principal Tiffany Tuck, a few teachers and Harris took turns floating up and down in the balloon that was tethered to the ground. “Tiffany was terrified,” said Harris. “She showed the students that sometimes it’s good to do things you’re really scared to do. It was an opportunity for them to see that even though she was scared to death she did it anyway.”

“I’m excited about this (balloon),” said Cole, a third grader.

“I’d be terrified of falling out of it,” said Archie, another third grader.

“It would be way cool to fly,” said Mason, who is also in third grade. 

“This was great for the first day,” said sixth grader Charlie Watts. “I’m excited to see my friends again and I’m ready to learn.”

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