It’s a career that many high school students only dream about – or perhaps it never even crossed their minds.

In partnership with Lift Academy through Republic Airways, high school students at Traders Point Christian School (TPCS) will soon have the option of taking aviation courses.

Last week, Republic Airways brought a flight simulator to the campus for students to trial and for the school to gauge interest.

“We had a really good response from our student body,” said Ryan Gallagher, TPCS Chief Advancement Officer. “They had a chance to try it out and fly a plane. We had applied for a grant through OAPA, it’s an organization that supports high school curriculum. We got it, so this fall, we can offer students the ability to explore a career in aviation.”

Not only did students experiment with the flight simulator, they were able to make connections between aviation and other required courses.

“This is much more of a possibility than we had imagined,” Gallagher said. “They were able to look at all the things they were learning in the classroom that can be applied to this career and when you look at the return on investment, you can become a pilot much sooner than some of the other career options, and the option is financially rewarding as well.”

Living close to the Indianapolis Airport could give students an incentive. They wouldn’t have to relocate to find that life-long career and TPCS is currently working with Eagle Creek Airport to secure flight hours and hands-on training.

“We’re looking at all unique opportunities for our students, “Gallagher said. “For those students that this really triggers a passion, we want them to graduate from here with flight hours, several courses under their belt and a better understanding. That’s what we are trying to accomplish.”

In the fall of the 2019-20 school year, TPCS officially launched the opening of their Scholar Project, an area in the school aimed at educating students in career options not often found at the high school level.

“The Scholar Project is the over-arching umbrella that houses the different schools. We chose the school of leadership, fine arts, applied sciences and bio-medical sciences. We foresee there being more partnerships and so far, we’ve had a great response,” Gallagher said.

He referred to the new courses as “the incubator stage”, testing the waters in several different areas, looking for response and interest from the student body, all for the purpose of offering the teens a “leg up” upon graduation.

The aviation courses will be found under the applied sciences wing of the program and offered to grades 9-12; taught by a licensed pilot and faculty member.

“If the experiences students can have in high school allows them to more clearly understand what their passion is before they graduate, their next decision is that much more effective and focused,” Gallagher said.

Other exciting opportunities await students for the fall as the Scholar Project gets underway. The TCPS partnership with Axia Technology Partners (ATP) gives students a hands-on approach to coding, robotics and IT fields.

Axia will provide internships for students and Microsoft Cloud or Cisco CCNA Certifications.

“​This partnership with a company with similar values is a great move forward and is indicative of the momentum developing at TPCS. This joint effort will benefit our students in a transformational way​,” said Paul Williams, TPCS Head of School.

TPCS is at 5608 Whitestown Parkway, Whitestown. For more information, visit the website at www.tpcs.org.

Melissa Gibson writes for The Lebanon Reporter.

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