Two North Tech students took to the skies this October after being selected as participants in Southwest Airlines’ “2018 Continuing the Legacy in Aviation” essay contest. Nigel Bailey and Kaylin Addison, both seniors, were chosen based on essays they had written about their interests in the aviation pathway.
The all-expenses paid trip to Dallas included flights, hotel accommodations, and meals for our students and their parents. Major Yolandea Wood, President of the Hugh J. White Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, sponsored the opportunity for our students and promoted it with the assistance of Kate Saunders, our College and Career Readiness Facilitator. The mission of the Tuskegee Airmen organization is to keep the historic legacy of African-American pilots, aircrew, and support staff in World War II alive. Major Wood promotes that legacy by reminding students that the Airmen and women adopted a “Watch Me” attitude when faced with challenges.
Our students toured the Southwest Airlines maintenance and engine shops at the Network Operations Center, the facility that supports the carrier’s flight operations management, scheduling, dispatch, and maintenance for its fleet. They participated in an escape room activity and visited the flight operations training center where they experienced flight simulators. Tours of the Frontiers of Flight Museum and a dinner and awards ceremony were also included.
Bailey, a welding student who will use earnings from his welding career to pay his way through flight school, plans to become a commercial pilot. He has already been accepted to Lincoln Tech’s welding program where he will begin studies in the Fall of 2019. Bailey found the flight simulation experience exciting and fun and the highlight of his trip. He said he had a “smooth landing, but yanked on the yoke afterwards,” as he was celebrating his accomplishment, resulting in rough results. Since he noted that there were lots of people crashing, he still felt good about getting the plane safely on the ground.
Addison is in our Hospitality and Hotel Management program and is eager to begin working as an airline attendant after graduation. She loves to write poetry and dreams of visiting Paris, but getting herself there presented a real challenge until her Mom offered a solution. “She planted the seed” about pursuing a career as a flight attendant, Addison said. Seeing the world while working sounded like a great career and, since Addison calls herself a “people person,” this job is a perfect fit for her interests and personality. During the trip, she spent a lot of time with mentoring flight attendants who offered to support her when she begins training. “I left with a great experience and learned a lot about the industry that complemented all that Mr. Palladino teaches us,” she said.
Both students would recommend that others consider applying next year. “I would encourage people to do it; they shouldn’t be afraid to try!” said Addison. She said students may think it is difficult to write an application essay, but they shouldn’t be. “Mrs. Saunders helped me a lot,” she said.
To learn more about the Hugh J. White Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen and their scholarship offerings, please visit http://www.tuskegeeairmenstl.com/. For additional North Tech scholarship opportunities, contact our guidance office.