The Wayne County Board of Education this week recognized Southern Wayne High (SWH) sophomore and second year Air Force Junior ROTC cadet Alexander Groves. Alexander recently found out that he is going to be able to spend his summer taking part in a Flight Academy program, where he will complete nine weeks of intense training which will culminate in his achieving a private pilot’s license. Cadet Groves was one of 200 recipients nationwide to receive the Air Force Chief of Staff Flight Academy Private Pilot Scholarship. The scholarship is valued at $22,500.
“I was at home when Colonel Schantz (SWH AFJROTC Instructor) called my mother,” states Cadet Groves. “When she told me I got the scholarship, my mouth dropped and I was really surprised.”
The Air Force scholarship program was instituted nation-wide in 2018 as a way to help address current and future pilot shortages in both military and civil aviation. The scholarships provide the selected cadets with all ground school education, flying hours, room and board at one of 15 participating Universities across the United States that have accredited flight schools.
“It is especially difficult to get in to the Flight Academy program and Cadet Groves should be very proud of his achievement,” states Col George W. Schantz, Jr., USAF (Ret). “The Southern Wayne High Air Force Junior ROTC program has a rich history dating back to 1966 and is the charter member of the Kitty Hawk Air Society, a national honor society for the Air Force Junior ROTC. By being accepted into this program, Cadet Groves has brought continued distinction to his unit, his school and his community. He is also setting himself up to be head and shoulders above other applicants for a military pilot slot if he continues with his plans to join ROTC in college.”
In order to be eligible for the Flight Academy scholarship, Cadet Groves had to pass a computer-aided test, a Flight Physical, and apply for and receive an FAA student pilot certificate. It is worth noting that upon completion, Cadet Groves will have earned a private pilot’s license before having earned his driver’s license.
“It is my hope that when I come back that I can join the Civil Air Patrol, where I can fly every month,” adds Cadet Groves. “When I graduate I want to go to college, join ROTC, and get a degree in engineering. After that, I want to join the military to become a pilot.”
Additional criteria for the scholarship program require applicants to:
- Be a sophomore, junior or senior Air Force JROTC Cadet.
- Be at least 17 years old by 1 June in the year in they attend the Flight Academy
- Possess a current AFJROTC Presidential physical fitness assessment score of 40 or higher.
- Have a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.0 or above (on a 4.0 scale) and obtain a standardized test score on the Aviation Qualification Test (AQT).
- Be endorsed by their Senior Aerospace Science Instructor (SASI) and Principal or High School Counselor.
- Not currently hold a private pilot’s license.
It is worth noting that Cadet Groves is among the third class of scholarship recipients nationwide and the second Junior ROTC cadet from Southern Wayne High School and Wayne County to receive this prestigious scholarship. In 2019, Southern Wayne High cadet Adel Wells became the first recipient from Wayne County to have received the scholarship. She later transferred to Rosewood High and had the distinction of attending the Flight Academy program as the first Army Junior ROTC cadet.