|Cindi Goldhaber, principal of Pickerington North High School, freefalls from an airplane in a tandem jump with a skydiving instructor.|
Pickerington North Principal Cindi Goldhaber took Panther spirit to new heights when she challenged Diane Mankins, the principal of Grove City High School, to skydive from 12,000 feet.
Mankins could not accept the challenge but sent her head football and baseball coaches.
Panther defensive coordinator and math teacher, Jabaar Thompson, did join Goldhaber.
The eastside Army Recruiting Office sponsored the jump, which took place at the Warren County airport near Lebanon, Ohio, on Oct. 18.
Each school representative was paired with a professional diver in a tandem jump.
"It was really pretty cool," Goldhaber said. "It’s an absolute rush-the coolest thing I have ever done."
This was her second dive. Her first was last year when she participated in a similar event as assistant principal at Hilliard Davidson High School.
"You are locked onto the licensed diver," Goldhaber said. "You pretty much arch your back and go along for the ride. You don’t ever feel like you’re falling."
She described the freefall as like a "blast of air pushing you upward" followed by the deployment of the parachute, then a peaceful descent.
For 250-pound Thompson, the decent was much faster.
"I was scared all the way to the destination (and when it came time to jump), I was definitely petrified," Thompson said.
"Oh my gosh, Jabaar did fine," Goldhaber said. "They called him the ‘Heat Seeking Missile’ because he was flying."
When the North football team played the Greyhounds on Oct. 24, an Army Humvee loaded with a large video screen and sound system was to display a video of the jump for the fans in attendance. Army skydivers were scheduled to deliver the game ball and an American flag.
Goldhaber said she would like to challenge Central Principal Scott Reeves to skydive with her next year before the Panther-Tigers rematch.
Although he described the experience as "awesome", Thompson likely will not join Goldhaber again.
"I can cross it off my list," Thompson said.