LINTHICUM, Md. (WJZ) — The fifth-annual Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport Summer Youth Initiative is once again opening doors to local airports for Baltimore City students.

The students got to see parts of the airport Monday that not many people get to see, which airport officials hope will inspire kids to think big.

BWI has 12,000 employees, including everyone from pilots to TSA screeners to concession stand operators. All week long, students will get to meet these workers and see what it takes to keep an airport running.

“It’s is like the first time, out of my whole life span, that I’ve been to an airport,” student Xavier Alexander said.

“I just get to learn about airplanes and learn about how BWI is,” fellow student Makele Hill said.

One of the goals is to help the kids expand their horizons, said Maryland Aviation Administration executive director Ricky Smith.

“Exposing them to something like an airport broadens their world, broadens their horizon and it should inspire them to think bigger than the environment that they’re living in,” he said.

Day one took the students to the airport’s fire and rescue department to try on gear and get a small taste of training.

They also got to watch firefighters as they practiced putting out a jet fuel fire.

“If it’s ordinary, than it won’t be memorable for them, right?” Smith said. “That’s why we pull out the red carpet and we expose them to aspects of the airport that most people never get to see.”

Sean Streicher

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