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Meet Blake!

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Meet Blake! He wants to experience life to the fullest and will take on nearly any challenge or adventure. Blake is warm and kind, making even new acquaintances feel like old friends. His vibrant energy is infectious! He loves to skateboard with his friends and always makes sure he’s cheering them on. Blake has no trouble standing up for himself and for the people and causes he cares about, but even if he disagrees with someone’s opinion, he still values and respects them as a person. Brimming with curiosity and enthusiasm, Blake motivates his family, friends, and community to seize each day with a positive attitude.

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MEET THE COOPER-HUGHES FAMILY!

Blake was adopted as a baby by Cory Hughes, a volunteer coordinator at the local children’s hospital, and Nicolas Cooper, a singer. This family loves taking charge of fundraisers for Blake’s soccer team and is a constant source of support for Blake and all of his teammates and friends.

BLAKE’S INTERESTS

With boundless energy and enthusiasm, Blake loves spending as much time as possible playing games with his friends. He enjoys team sports, like soccer and baseball, and can be found gathering a group together to hang out at the skate park. Blake thrives when he can entertain his friends and make everyone in the room laugh.

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WATCH BLAKE’S STORY

HUMAN INTEREST STORIES

Each of the Fly Five characters has a unique story to tell. While they all live in the same neighborhood and share many interests, teams, clubs, and classrooms, they have different strengths, values, hopes, and ways of perceiving the world. The human interest stories offer students and teachers an opportunity to connect with the characters more deeply, as the stories are first-person accounts of an important moment in each one’s life. From coming-of-age reflections about family and faith to explorations of one’s place in their cultural history, these stories remind us of the ways we are all connected: through our relationships, our triumphs and struggles, and our ability to find hope and resilience no matter what challenges life presents.

BLAKE COOPER - HUGHES

Taking On the Half-Pipe

The first time I dropped into a half-pipe on my skateboard I felt like I was looking off the edge of the Earth. It was just a little half-pipe at the local skate park, but I was pretty young, so it seemed enormous. I was positive I’d get hurt if I went through with it, but Dad and Papa were standing right next to me, cheering me on. It took forever for me to finally get up the nerve, but when I finally dropped in, I knew I wanted to do it again. And again and again.

I love skateboarding for the thrill—there’s nothing like landing your first trick or soaring down an incline on your board. But I love it mostly because it’s something Dad, Papa, and I do together. It keeps us close as a family.

I’ve always loved playing sports. When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to be old enough to try out for baseball and football. Baseball ended up being way too slow for me, and the football coach said I was athletic but needed to work on how to actually play the game. I couldn’t be bothered to think about all those rules and my teammates when I just wanted to run and score. I didn’t make either team, and even though I knew neither was the right sport for me, I felt really down. I wanted to play something and be good at it!

A few days later, Dad came home with three skateboards. “We’ll start a skateboarding team!” he announced.

I thought he was joking at first—neither of them had ever played a sport in their lives! But he meant it. Every weekend we all strapped on our helmets, elbow pads, and knee pads and skated at the skate park for hours. It was awesome, and I was actually pretty good!

This year I entered my first skating competition, and the half-pipe was the biggest one I’d ever skated on. Dad and Papa spent all of their free time helping me master it. When I fell a few times and wanted to back out, they encouraged me to try again. They did research about new techniques I could try and always listened to me talk through what was tripping me up.

On the day of the competition, when I looked down before I dropped in, I had that feeling like I was looking over the edge of the Earth again. My hands were a little shaky, and I thought of just walking down instead. But on the side of the park, I could see Dad and Papa were pressed against the gate. They were always in the front of the crowd cheering me on. I knew I could do it, and I could feel their support all the way up there as I hovered on the edge. So I took a breath and did it for them, even though I was scared. I didn’t win this time or anything, but my dads are already talking about how to prepare for the next competition. They’re so proud of me for working hard at something I love, and that’s enough.

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RESEARCH

  • Fly Five is designed with the awareness that diversity and representation is a non-negotiable aspect of social and emotional learning. Central to this curriculum is our cast of nine characters who are grounded in authentic storylines that represent diversity of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, religious beliefs, family structure, socioeconomic status, and more. In creating the characters, we employed a careful, critical research process to ensure that their cultures, interests, appearance, and family structures are accurately and respectfully depicted.
  • Research for Blake included the examination of the lived experiences of families with same-sex parents and adopted children.
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