Lincoln-Way East students receive new AFJROTC Flight Academy scholarships
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Senior Trevor Horn and sophomore Angelo Wilder, Air Force Junior ROTC (AFJROTC) cadets at Lincoln-Way East High School, have received scholarships to attend one of six partnering universities participating in a private pilot license training program over the summer of 2018.

“When they first announced the program this fall, I thought we'd be lucky if we could give just one of our cadets this opportunity,” says Senior Aerospace Science Instructor, Lieutenant Colonel John O’Connor, USAF (ret.). “But to be awarded two slots for such a competitive scholarship is just amazing—particularly in its inaugural year."

Horn and Wilder are among 120 AFJROTC cadets around the world to receive the scholarship from Headquarters AFJROTC, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama. Over 700 cadets applied for one of the 120 scholarships. There are over 120,000 high school students enrolled in AFJROTC at over 880 high schools in the U.S and overseas.

The scholarship covers transportation, room and board, academics and flight hours required to potentially earn a private pilot license. The scholarship is valued at approximately $20,000.

“I'm so incredibly proud of these two cadets for being selected for this flight scholarship program,” says O’Connor. “This is really an incredibly opportunity. Two months of classes and flight training, all expenses paid, at one of the nation's top university flight schools to earn a Private Pilot License. I keep asking myself, ‘Where was this kind of opportunity when I was in high school?’”

The Flight Academy Scholarship Program is a new Air Force-level initiative in collaboration with the commercial aviation industry to address the national civilian and military pilot shortage. AFJROTC has been charged by the Air Force Aircrew Crisis Task Force to bring back the “luster of aviation” to high school students and increase diversity in aviation fields.

“Air Force Junior ROTC is planning to more than double the number of flight scholarship available next year, and it's my hope that this will help energize our cadets to consider pursuing a career in military or civilian aviation,” says O’Connor.

Those who participate in the program do not incur a military commitment to the Air Force or other branch of service, nor does completing the program guarantee acceptance into one of the military’s commissioning programs.

The mission of AFJROTC is to develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community, while instilling values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility and sense of accomplishment.