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The Leading Edge Aviation Foundation of Baxter County awarded its annual scholarship for the National Flight Academy (NFA) to Cadet Emalyn Stephens, the daughter of Tracy and Michael Stephens. Tracy Stephens, is a career counselor at the school and Michael is the owner of Mountain Motors Auto and RV. Emalyn is a member of the National Honor Society, this year competes on the wrestling and bowling teams after track and cross-country last year. She is the holder of four team state championship awards and was recently promoted to the Commanding Officer position of the Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) at Mountain Home High School.
This is the second year in a row that a student of Chief Jason Williams, the Naval Science Instructor, has won this scholarship to attend a summer session of the NFA in Pensacola, Florida. Retired now from the U.S. Navy after more than 21 years of service, Jason explains that the NJROTC program is designed to instill the values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment to students in our secondary educational system. He incorporates an active drone course of study that includes a competitive team, demonstrating drone skills in tournaments across five states.
Next year, Chief William’s program will join the newly introduced AOPA aviation curriculum. a broader aviation course of study available to Mountain Home students, Built on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fundamentals, upon graduation this career oriented program leads to FAA certification as a commercial drone pilot, or completion of the academic portion for a pilot certificate.
Emalyn’s experience at the NFA this summer will include living aboard the virtual aircraft carrier, AMBITION. Each deck of the virtual ship is designed to simulate a modern aircraft carrier. The main deck houses the galley, mess deck, administrative spaces and the aircraft hangar bays. The first deck is dedicated to academic spaces including the operations and intelligence centers, while the second and third decks house sleeping quarters, team building compartments and activity rooms.
Providing this important opportunity, the Leading Edge Aviation Foundation (LEAF) is a 501(c)(3) certified charity, made up of local area pilots who work to gather funds to provide resources to educate, encourage and award financial assistance to people interested in aviation who might otherwise be excluded. In addition to student scholarships like this one, to date more than 30 learner pilots have trained with LEAF instructors and aircraft. LEAF members also support the Civil Air Patrol Wing of Baxter County and the aviation clubs of the Mountain Home school district. To join this effort and make a tax deductible donation to LEAF visit the website: www.leadingedgeaviationfoundation.org or call Baxter County Airport (870-481-5418