Over the past year, our organization has grown to include two high schools. Our enrollment has more than doubled in size to about 50 aviation students.
We have formed a new partnership with the Centinela Unified High School District to form a new Aviation Career Academy that will provide advanced aviation training to high school students. Upon successful completion, the students will be Certified Flight Instructors at age 18. The academy will grow to include certifications in Aviation Maintenance as well as Air Traffic Control. This advanced training will give them a huge head-start in their pursuit of an aviation career and will allow them to financially support themselves while earning their undergraduate degree.
This long-term partnership represents a significant step in our organizational goals to increase the number of minority and female aviators, expose students to aviation careers, and to apply classroom math and science through aviation.
Quantitatively, our program has continued to grow in in scale. During the 2013 – 2014, we added two new sections of our Private Pilot Ground School at Hawthorne High School. This is in addition to the Private Pilot Ground School we have offered at DaVinci Science High School for the past 3 years. To increase our instructional efficacy, we have purchased over 60 new aviation textbooks, handbooks, and syllabus. We have also begun work on developing a shared curriculum with the Science & Engineering Academy at Hawthorne High so that all classes taken in the Aviation Academy will qualify as University of California Approved Course Electives. On February 9th, we took our 30th student for their first flight lesson in a small aircraft. Three of our students have begun career flight training.
Qualitatively, our program continues to grow in effectiveness and in giving the gift of flight to those who would not normally receive it. The serious under-representation of minorities and women in professional aviation careers persists today. Our goal is to create a sustainable aviation training program for young adults in a socio-economically challenged community. By doing so, we can increase the number of minority and female aviation professionals. Institutional change can only be wrought at the institutional level. Students who would never even have thought about a career in aviation will not only be made aware of the option, but will be able to begin working toward that goal while still in high school. Those who enroll in the program, but do not choose a path in professional aviation, will enjoy a priceless experience and may become recreational pilots later in life.