Sara Hanscom, Education Director


It’s hard to believe that it’s been 18 years. I now know what people mean when they say how time flies when you’re having fun. 

Sara is joined by Ann Wojtczak and Michele Hamilton at the 2021 Midway American Patriot Award gala that raises money for the education department’s No Child Left Ashore Scholarship Fund.

I never would have guessed that back in 2004 where we would be today. The Midway, what’s that? But today, when I’m at the grocery store someone will come up to me, having noticed my Midway polo shirt, to tell me “I love Midway. That was my favorite school fieldtrip.”

I can’t help but beam and say “Thanks! That’s my area.”

I joined Midway as the director of education nearly two decades ago, and when I look at how our educational programs have grown and flourished, I can’t help but reflect on what was and still is the secret of our success. The recipe includes a talented group of dedicated museum educators and professionals, volunteers, local teachers and youth leaders, and a lot of Midway Magic.

The programs and curriculums our team has created over the years have in many ways, set the standard for museums. Today, students from nearly every school district in San Diego County participate in our programs. This gives me tremendous pride.

We now host more than 50,000 K-12 students annually in math, science, history and social studies. In 2019, due to the pandemic, we created and launched a series of digital online programs for students in grades 2-8. We have now reached students in more than 25 states.

Our popular overnight program is one of the most sought after in the county with more than 6,000 boys, girls, civic, and church youth groups participating in our sleepover and leadership programs each year.

The Midway Institute for Teachers has been, and continues to be, a tremendous resource for educators around the country with focuses on World War II and the Cold War as well as the Korean and Vietnam Wars. It’s become a national program with participants coming not only from California and nearby western states, but as far away as New Hampshire, Virginia and Florida.

Midway has also distributed more than $3 million in educational scholarships through our No Child Left Ashore and Bravo Zulu scholarship funds.

I’ve had the privilege and honor to serve our museum from the very start. So much has happened and so many more exciting adventures lie ahead. Having made the difficult decision to retire, I wanted to take this opportunity to say thanks to the amazing Midway education team, Midway leadership and staff, volunteers, partners, and our members for this incredible professional opportunity and their continued dedication and support.

It makes me think of our 2nd grade Heroes program, where we learn the importance of respect, helping others, courage, and responsibility -— that’s what Midway is all about. We have the unique opportunity to make “good” cool, which is needed more than ever these days.

Thank you Midway for allowing me to be part of the crew.