Used to inspiring communities, Blue Angels flip the script and showcase influence of one Rapid City teacher

ELLSWORTH AFB, S.D. – The countdown continues for the Ellsworth Air and Space show and the first of many jets landing at the base throughout this week.

Headling the show this year is the famous Blue Angels who showcase the work of the United States Navy and Marine Corps, inspiring communities across the country.

Friday morning, they flipped the script, showcasing the influence of a Rapid City teacher who’s inspired kids of all ages through her own career in the Black Hills.

Jennifer Macziewski teaches kindergarten and first grade when she’s not sporting a navy flight suit. She’s been in her role at Valley View Elementary School for 11 years but her career spans beyond the decade.


“I grew up in Rapid City, and the teachers that taught me really just helped me to see how much I liked helping people and teaching people,” said Macziewski. “I wanted to be a teacher since I was in second grade and I’ve never seen myself doing anything else.”

What ensued next were years of hard work in pursuit of following her dream and influencing the lives of those whose paths she crossed. She says that being named this year’s “Teacher of the Year” is just the culmination of those years of research, dedication, and consistent effort to improve the lives around her. And to have the opportunity come up to fly with the Blue Angels, her piece of advice for everyone?

“Just go for what you think you need to go for because you only live once and sometimes opportunities don’t rise twice and so you have got to go for it if your heart is set on it,” said Macziewski.

During their air show performance, the Blue Angels travel anywhere from 150 mph to 700 mph, sometimes as close as 18 inches apart. Expertly executing the maneuvers takes countless hours and endless commitment to honing the skills to accomplish. While the careers may differ from the Blue Angels to Macziewski’s, the foundation of growth remains.

“The dedication of teachers is similar, but in a different aspect,” said Macziewski. “This is physically demanding. Teaching is emotionally and mentally draining. Yes, the hard work, the dedication from the people that I got to hang out with today, and the people I work with every day is definitely something that I appreciate and admire greatly.”

The Air and Space Show takes flight Saturday and Sunday at Ellsworth Air Force Base. 

Categories: Air & Space Show, ConnectCenter1-Events, Local News, South Dakota News