Pratt & Whitney ACT Facility Inspires Students' Passion for Aviation

Summer break usually flies by for most teenagers, and that is especially true at Pine Bush High School in New York's Hudson Valley. These students likely feel like they never left. That's because Pine Bush offers career-focused summer academies.

One of the most popular courses is the two-and-a-half week long Aviation Academy, sponsored in part by Pratt & Whitney.

Aaron Hopmayer, principal, Pine Bush High School: We stared the Aviation Academy seven years ago. It's one of six summer academies we've run at the high school, which are all nationally recognized.

We partnered with Pratt & Whitney approximately three years ago, so what it did for us, was to give the opportunity to expand our strategic partnerships, and to include Pratt & Whitney, it really gives the kids the opportunity to be prepared for college.

At the Aviation Academy, students study the math and physics behind aviation, learn how to pilot gliders and take educational field trips to local aeronautical sites.

One of their field trips includes a stop at Pratt & Whitney's Advanced Coating Technologies facility in Middletown, New York.

John Yelle, manager, Finance, Administration and ACE: I think it's fabulous when the students come in because you get to see their enthusiasm, which kind of gets me pumped again for what we do. You get those fresh sets of eyes that come and see what we do, and what we do is pretty cool.

It's easy to see why many students leave the academy with a lifelong appreciation for aviation, with some even choosing to pursue careers in the field.

Peter Demetres, graduate, Pine Bush High School: After I took this academy I decided I wanted to do something with aviation. I like flying, but I see it more as a hobby than a career. So now, this August, I will be starting school at Embry-Riddle Daytona Beach, and will be going for my bachelor's in Aerospace Engineering.

Aaron Hopmayer: So, all these kids right now are part of something really special, and when you have these companies who are willing to give back, and really support our kids, it's why this country is what it is. And to be a part of a company like Pratt & Whitney, and know that this is what we need with our high school, get STEM programs going, give opportunities and experiences, that's awesome.

Facebook Twitter YouTube LinkedIn Instagram