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Scappoose students visited following production about World War II women pilots

COURTESY PHOTO: CHRYSTAL NELSON - A group of women pilots who are part of the Oregon Chapter of the Ninety-Nines, an organization of licensed women pilots who celebrate the advancement of women in aviation, attended a showing of the Scappoose production of Decision Height on Saturday, Oct. 26. The play tells the story of civilian Women Airforce Service Pilots who flew planes in World War II. Students in the Scappoose Theater production of "Decision Height," which tells the story of Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II, had the opportunity to meet women pilots after their Saturday matinee showing of the play on Oct. 26.

The women were part of a Pacific Northwest chapter of the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of licensed women pilots founded in 1929 to promote the advancement of women in aviation. Some of the women flew into Scappoose on their own planes to attend the showing.

Iroha Shimizu, Angela Johnston, Monse Sandoval and Destiny Weilert, all students in the fall production, said it was an incredible and memorable experience to meet people who had a personal connection to the show.

"It makes it feel so much more special to have them fly to see us metaphorically fly," Weilert said.

While the fall production focused on a specific set of Women Airforce Service Pilots, also known by the acronym WASP, the play's theme and message meant much more to the audience, the students explained.

"They came up to us and thanked us for representing them and their heroes and for showing a piece of the history that wasn't necessarily shown before, and for representing pilots all over," Sandoval

said.

During another production of the show, the daughter and sister of a former U.S. Air Force pilot also attended and visited the actors briefly afterward, the students added.

"It was cool to know that we were doing a show that people could be impacted by, and it was real life experiences, and I think people appreciated and enjoyed the recognition for something that doesn't get recognized that often," Johnston said.

The play also served as a history lesson for some who were unaware of the challenges the WASP faced. WASP was a civilian organization of women pilots who took on certain roles during World War II that allowed for men to take up combat pilot positions.

"It's a forgotten history, but an unforgettable play," Shimizu said, reflecting on the experience.


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