Deborah Gist skydives for reading challenge - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Deborah Gist skydives for reading challenge

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MIDDLETOWN, R.I. -

Dozens of students and teachers were on hand at Skydive Newport in Middletown as Education Commissioner Deborah Gist and Blackstone Valley Prep's Drew Madden strap in and get ready to take the leap of a lifetime.

NBC10 spoke to Gist as she got ready for the big moment "I'm so excited that so many of the students and families came out to support us and I'll be happy when we're on the ground."

The commissioner and Mr. Madden are making good on a bet with students that if the kids spent their summer diving into books, they would thank them by skydiving.

Gist made good on that promise today and thanked the kids as she prepared to jump,"I want to say thank you Blackstone Valley Prep scholars; from the bottom of my heart!"

And with that message and a wave, out she falls with the wind in her face and 10,000 feet of sky between her and the ground.

Marc Tripari, owner of Skydive Newport, described the experience to NBC 10, "you don't get the feeling of falling, it's like floating above the earth at 120 miles per hour with a bunch of wind in your face. You don't get the feeling of speed."

That's the freefall portion of it all, but at about 5,000 feet the chute opens, and the ride becomes much more graceful.

The goal set forth for the students at Blackstone Valley Prep was to read 1,000 books total over the summer, that's 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. Well they far exceeded that goal, and that's why the commissioner and Drew Madden got into a plane, and jumped out."

Mr. Madden also talked to NBC 10 about making good on the bet, "I'm just so proud of all of our scholars for really dedicating themselves over the summer and pushing themselves beyond what a normal middle school child wants to do over the summer."

According to the commissioner the day was a success and the jump was "really fun"

And fun to see kids get excited for reading. Who knew diving into a book could be a life-changing experience.

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