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Since 2022, Mountain Home students have competed for scholarship awards from the Leading Edge Aviation Foundation (the “Foundation”) to attend summer sessions of the National Flight Academy (NFA) in Pensacola, Florida.
This year’s NFA scholarship award was won by Cadet Commander Dylan Prins, the son of Tobias and Danielle Pugsley.
Dylan serves this year as Executive Officer of the NJROTC unit and looks forward to the summer National Flight Academy experience. Described as “an immersive learning adventure” aboard the world’s largest simulated aircraft carrier, the “Ambition”, students compete over six days to complete an aviation related task (mission) using science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills, along with critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork and communication.
The Flight Academy facility is a multi-story, 102,000 square foot replica of an aircraft carrier where students are surrounded by advanced technology, flight simulators, and virtual reality exercises that ignite imagination and encourage learning. Each deck of the four-story virtual ship simulates a modern aircraft carrier with the main deck housing the galley, mess deck, administrative spaces and the aircraft hangar bays.
The first deck is dedicated to academic spaces and the operations-intelligence centers, while the second and third decks house sleeping quarters, team building compartments and activity rooms.
Returning from that experience for 2023 is cadet Lieutenant Commander Emalyn Stephens, a senior at Mountain Home High School and student commander of the Navy Junior ROTC unit. Lieutenant Commander Allan Hale and Chief Jason Williams, Naval Science Instructors at Mountain Home High School are proud of the achievements of their students – but know the competition is high for the Leading Edge Aviation scholarship awards and may go to anyone in coming years.
The Leading Edge Aviation Foundation provides “experience” scholarships like this and “academic” scholarships for post-secondary study towards aviation careers.
Formed in 2018 by a group of local pilots the Foundation is made up of area residents who have enjoyed aviation in their own lives, and want to provide assistance to others, including graduating students who plan to pursue further education or training for careers in the aviation industry.
Foundation members support the new aviation STEM curriculum now available at Mountain Home High School. This aerospace career pathway includes three years of study to earn FAA certificates as a commercial drone operator or completing the private pilot knowledge test.
This nationwide program has proven to advance student maturity, confidence, and critical thinking skills towards rewarding aerospace industry careers.
The Leading Edge Aviation Foundation (a 501(c)(3) IRS certified charity) carries out its mission to provide access to aviation through donations (tax deductible) from anyone who would like to support these increased opportunities for local students.
The aviation STEM courses are available to students in grades 9-12 and graduates are eligible to compete for further education scholarships leading to aviation industry careers.