Eight-year-old Noa Lewis of Acworth recently finished a school research paper that changed her life as the second-grader was tasked with choosing a historical figure for her school’s wax museum exhibit.
The project required students to research a historical person selected by the teacher and dress in character for the presentation to parents and classmates. Noa was assigned Amelia Earhart, but remembered another pilot who was significant during the same time period.
At 4 and half years old, Noa watched an episode of the Disney Junior show “Doc McStuffins” and learned about Bessie Coleman. During the episode, Noa became intrigued and wanted the doll featured on the show. She also wanted to know more about Coleman, the first African American woman to get an international pilot’s license. Unfortunately, her mother Moniqua never found the doll, but did find a book called “Sticker Pilots and Aviators,” which had an illustrated page showing Coleman under the title “Barnstorming.” Noa’s interest in Coleman stuck with her over the years, and her teacher agreed to let her research Coleman instead of Earhart.
In her research, Noa and her mother found the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the National Aviation Hall of Fame museums. Moniqua emailed the museums asking for additional information for her daughter’s presentation. Noa was very excited to get an immediate response, as well as copies of articles. This laid the groundwork for her to put together a poster for her presentation, write a research paper and plan the appropriate wardrobe. Since Coleman lived in France for a time, Noa even learned a little bit of French (je suis un pilote, which means I am a pilot) for her presentation.
Noa’s presentation was well received and introduced many others to Coleman’s journey. She learned a lot about the importance of perseverance and determination. Both museums the Lewises contacted asked to be kept informed on her report. After Noa’s presentation, Moniqua emailed the museums her presentation with a note of gratitude for their assistance.
The National Aviation Hall of Fame immediately responded and offered the family of four a paid trip to Ohio, where Coleman’s great-niece was performing a one woman show. The Acworth family accepted the invitation and attended the show. They were amazed by the amount of love and encouragement shown to Noa during her research project. The trip was life changing for Noa, and the family wants other kids to know that what might seem to be just a school assignment, could be a life-changing experience.