The Museum of Flight’s (MoF) Aeronautical Science Pathway (ASP) is saying goodbye to its senior students, the first graduating class to go through both years of the program. On Tuesday, 5 Jun. 2018 the inaugural class will have a graduation ceremony from the program they have worked hard in.
Michael Graham is a teacher for the first year students, high school juniors, at the MoF. He feels like the students are fortunate to be given this opportunity.
“I want these students to take away a few things,” said Graham. “1, free college credit. College is expensive, any sort of help is worth pursuing. 2, I want them to find a way to make their passion a career. 3, I want them to realize how lucky they are to have programs like this. Our goal is to give these students a head start on that career path.”
Senior Hunter Whitlock is in the ASP graduating class of 2017-18, and has been a part of it since its inaugural year. Whitlock learned about the program through his connection with the Vice President of Education at the MoF, Reba Gilman.
“I saw it as a opportunity and Ms. Gilman, the cofounder/former principal of RAHS, was looking for people to join the program,” said Whitlock. “I was friends with her from that, so that is how I found out about it. The museum was looking to start the program and looking for people to test out the program. They needed a group of students to provide the feedback and be the inaugural class. So I didn’t initially join the program because of itself but because Ms. Gilman. I stayed because it is a great opportunity and I earned all the credits the first year.”
This year was junior John Dulski’s first year in the ASP program, he has learned a lot from being in the ASP program and had many opportunities from joining this class.
“Some valuable lessons that I have learned is mostly regarding soft skills, group work, as well as public speaking. We also have had some presentations that we had to perform in front of the MoF executives,” said Dulski. “Adding [onto] to that, we have had many opportunities to connect with industry professionals at events such as the AIAA brunches that they have every few months or so.”
Changes are being made next year in the ASP program to spread time to other aspects of the class.
“Next year we will be changing the format of year,” said Graham. “Instead of having three classes back to back during a semester we will be combining 3 classes to look like 1 semester long class. This will allow us to do a lot more for each class and allow for more simulator time.”
The program comes with a lot of benefits, the most significant to Whitlock being the college credits.
“I earned all 60 credits, 30 last year and 30 this year, and most of them are transferring to the college I’m going to,” said Whitlock. “Combined with my AP classes I’m also taking, I will be starting as a second semester student. I got a year and half off college because of ASP and AP classes.”
Whitlock learned valuable life skills other than aeronautical science from being in the program. Students that are dedicated have to give up their time and effort to success with high quality.
“Hard work and time management [are] a big lesson I learned and I also learned my limits,” said Whitlock. “Last year I tried to do Science Olympiad as a zero period and I took ASP after school, so it kept me at school for 12 hrs a day, not including homework. So this year I dropped Science Olympiad to do ASP more effectively.”
ASP gives students the feeling of what being in college is like with real instructors rather than being in a normal high school class.
“[ASP is] improving me academically, just getting me used to how a college course works because they are taught by Green River instructors,” said Whitlock. “It is not like AP [classes] where you see the teacher everyday at the high school, it’s actual college professors.”
The program caught Dulski’s attention because it directly connects with the aviation field and industry, even more so than RAHS.
“The best part of joining the ASP program is that you get not only to be around people that are interested in aviation, but also that you get [to] take many more classes relating to aviation that I would not have found at this school,” said Dulski. “Best of all, you get credit for all of these classes (for me a high school GPA booster as well as a money saver in college).”
Dulski has to find a flexible schedule to handle school at RAHS and the ASP program, but overall it was worth the time and effort.
“Usually, I would have to take the bus home, so I would actually spend the same amount of time on the bus as I would in class. If one does join I would recommend on not doing a 6th period so that you have some time off before ASP begins,” said Dulski. “I would recommend for people to join ASP because it not only is about the passion of flying, it also grants you 60 college credits if you do it two years (so you save a good deal of money).”