SACRAMENTO -- Their mission last week was at the fire lines in Napa and Mendocino. But Wednesday, this California Army Guard Black Hawk helicopter landed at North Area Community School in Sacramento.
"And event like today, opens the mind, opens the eyes, opens the hearts to follow something that they might be passionate about or dreamed about," said Matt Perry, assistant superintendent with the Sacramento County Office of Education.
National Guard pilots spoke with students at the county's continuation program -- students like Justina Leyva, who said traditional high school wasn't for him.
"I'm not going to lie, I wanted to be a drop out because I was going through a lot when I was younger," Leyva said.
Wednesday's event is a glimpse at what life can be like if they finish school and earn a diploma.
"We're a nation of second chances. And we want to make sure all of these kids have a chance to a great career," Perry said.
In fact, the pilot said it was an event just like this that inspired him to do what he does.
"I was in college, a fraternity brother had gone to Navy flight school. He had flown his jet in, told us all to come out to the airport to check it out. I saw that, and thought it was the coolest thing in the world," said Chief Bobby Brockly -- CW4 with the California Army National Guard.
He immediately changed his major at Arizona State University, got his pilot's license, and now, Brockly is a senior pilot instructor. His job is to inspire the next generation of pilots, which could be in this group of students.
"If we can reach out to a couple of kids, and it gives them the inspiration to go out there and do something -- it might not be to fly a helicopter, maybe it's to become law enforcement or firefighter -- we feel like we've done our job, and we feel good about that," Brockly said.
Since transferring to Vista Nueva Continuation School, Leyva says she's turned her life around. Through experiences like this, she's learned to hone in on career goals of getting into real estate.
"It actually made me different. More mature, I got good grades, and I'm actually doing way better, and I'm looking for work now," Leyva said.