Students at Oakland Technical High School will soon be able to take aviation lessons as part of a new program created this year to honor former student and 9/11 victim Wanda Anita Green.
Green, who graduated from Oakland Tech in 1970, died on September 11, 2001 while working as a flight attendant on United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in a field outside of Shanksville, in Pennsylvania, when passengers on board attempted to retaliate against the hijackers. Green, who was born and raised in Oakland, was taking the flight to San Francisco to visit his mother, who still lives in Oakland.
“It’s about creating a lasting legacy for her at Tech, so that graduate students know her name and know that she went to Tech, and to provide students with the opportunity to be exposed to aviation,” said Nona Ogunsula, another Tech alumnus. who has been working for several months to complete the program. “Flying was a dream Wanda had and was able to achieve as a flight attendant.”
Oakland Tech offers five “paths” – from health to design and art – as well as several programs, such as Paideia, which emphasizes a specific approach to teaching and learning with roots in science. Ancient Greece, said deputy director Martel Price. While Ogunsula initially envisioned a separate aviation course, the Wanda Anita Green Aviation Education program will instead be part of the school’s existing engineering course.
The program will provide students with exposure to careers as pilots, flight crews, mechanics, air traffic operations, flight operations and more. As with other OUSD-related learning paths, students interested in the aviation program will not only be able to take courses to learn more about the industry, but also take trips to places like the Museum of Oakland Aviation and Oakland International Airport, as well as obtaining mentoring and training from professionals.
This year, during the introductory phase of the program, interested students will be able to meet professionals and take field trips, and the aviation curriculum will be implemented during the 2022-2023 school year. The goal is for 10% of Oakland Tech students, around 200, to be exposed to aviation careers. A plaque honoring Green will also be placed in the entrance to the school.
“Her legacy lives on in the lives of those she touched on her travels, as well as among her family and friends. And now he will also be known at Oakland Tech, his alma mater, as well as the five other memorials in the United States that bear his name, ”said Price. “That’s quite a feat for a black woman.”
Ogunsula, an Oakland tech graduate in 1982, first heard of Green in 2017, when she visited the United 93 Memorial in Pennsylvania, which listed Green’s hometowns like Oakland and Linden, New Jersey. . But it wasn’t until Ogunsula read Green’s bio in the Flight 93 Visitor Center that she learned that Green had graduated from Oakland Tech. It immediately piqued his interest. When Ogunsula looked for more information about her, she couldn’t find much. She watched United 93, a 2006 film about the theft, and United 93: The Families and the Film, an accompanying documentary that included interviews with the families of the victims, but the Green family was not interviewed.
“I just felt at that point that Wanda’s story needed to be told. Her story should get out there and get visibility,” said Ogunsula, who lives outside of Washington, DC.
In 2018, when Ogunsula was visiting California, she met a few of her classmates and, over time, finally hooked up with some of Green’s classmates. From there, she contacted Green’s twin sister, Sandra Jamerson, and her family. Earlier this year, Ogunsula and a group of Tech alumni started meeting to think about ways to honor Green at their school, and they landed on an aviation education program. The group reached out to professional aviation organizations, such as the Association of Aircraft Owners and Pilots, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, and the Federal Aviation Administration, to request aviation programs for to high school students. Ogunsula also contacted former leaders of Oakland Aviation High School, a charter school that worked between 2006 and 2011 train students to become pilots, flight attendants and line engineers.
Green had dreamed of flying since he was a teenager. She worked as a flight attendant for almost 30 years. In 2001, she is preparing to retire, while also working as a property manager. She lived in Linden, New Jersey, and had two children. Green was 49 when she died.
“I am overwhelmed, thrilled and just excited about what Oakland Tech and Oakland Unified School District are going to do in honor of my sister, Wanda A. Green,” Green’s twin sister Jamerson said at a ceremony. to honor Green and celebrate the launch of the program last week. “Nona is a wonderful person who took a lot of initiative to make this happen.”