Four U.S. Air Force Junior ROTC (AFJROTC) cadets from Battle Ground High School received scholarships to earn private pilot licenses. Nathanial Davis, Jarrett Huntington, Brooke Kirby, and Wyatt Moody are among only 200 AFJROTC cadets nationwide selected to receive scholarships from the Flight Academy Scholarship Program, a collaborative initiative between the United States Air Force and the commercial aviation industry intended to inspire and encourage high school youth to pursue aviation careers.

Battle Ground High School junior Brooke Kirby sits at the controls of a flight simulator. All image credits: Battle Ground Public Schools.

The program is an intensive eight-week summer aviation training program conducted at 11 accredited universities nationwide. Upon successful completion of the program, students are awarded a Private Pilot’s Certification and 12 college credits. Each scholarship is valued at approximately $22,500 and covers transportation, room and board, academics and flight hours.

According to industry and military leadership, the United States is facing a looming pilot shortage crisis. Currently, Boeing predicts 6,000 civilian pilots will need to be hired each year for the next 20 years to keep up with demand, while military needs add at least another 2,000 pilots per year.

Overall, nearly 3,000 cadets applied for the 200 available flight academy scholarships. The scholarships are merit-based, with selection being determined by cadets’ grades, extracurricular activities and their results from the Aviation Qualification Test – a challenging exam that includes timed sections covering aptitude in math, map charting, logic, and aviation concepts and instrumentation.

From left to right: Battle Ground High School junior Jarrett Huntington, 10th grader Nathaniel Davis, and junior Wyatt Moody.

“I’m immensely proud of the accomplishments of these outstanding cadets,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Woodrow, Battle Ground High School’s senior aerospace science instructor. “BGHS is fortunate to have four students selected to receive scholarships that will provide a first class opportunity to chart the course for their futures in aviation.”

The cadets are now waiting to find out which university they will be attending this summer.