Dutch Fork High School Student Earns Private Pilot Certification through AFJROTC Scholarship

Christian Smith, a senior at Dutch Fork High School, achieved a significant milestone by earning a private pilot certification through a $25,000 scholarship sponsored by the Air Force JROTC (AFJROTC) headquarters. The accomplishment places him among the less than 1% of the population holding a private pilot license.

Attending and graduating from the Air Force JROTC Flight Academy last summer, Smith completed the approximately 8-week summer aviation training program at partnering universities nationwide. The scholarship program, a collaboration between the aerospace industry and the Air Force, aims to inspire and encourage high school students to pursue careers in aviation.

Expressing gratitude for the opportunity, Smith plans to attend West Point Academy to pursue a degree in psychology and biology, to commission as a U.S. Army officer. Reflecting on the challenging and rewarding experience, he emphasized the broader significance of obtaining his pilot’s license.

“To me, obtaining my pilot’s license means more than the ability to fly. It proves to me that with enough determination and hard work, anything is possible,” said Smith.

Maj. Reginald Slade, Dutch Fork High School Aerospace Science Instructor, praised Smith as a resilient and dedicated young man who exemplifies Fox pride. He highlighted Smith’s leadership within the aviation classes, describing him as “truly among the best of the best” and expressing well-wishes for his future endeavors. 

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