ECSU welcomes middle and high school students for aviation academies
Dr. J. Anthony Sharp
August 06, 2012
The Aviation Science Program of Elizabeth City State University conducted two ACE (Aviation Career Education ) Academies in 2012. The Federal Aviation Administration’s ACE programs are held to expose middle and high school students to careers in the aviation industry. These academies are held at various sites around the country, including at ECSU. This is the fourth year that ECSU has offered ACE academies, with ECSU offering two high school academies – a co-ed academy and a unique, all-girls academy. Twenty three students –18 boys and five girls — enrolled in the co-ed academy held in June, while 23 girls attended the all-girls academy in July. Faculty from the ECSU Aviation Science Program conducted both weeklong academies with assistance from ECSU students who served as academy counselors. The academies are designed to give the middle and high school participants an experience that closely mirrors the lifestyle of students enrolled at the university. The youngsters lived in ECSU residence halls, ate their meals at the university cafeteria and completed their courses in classrooms located in Dixon-Patterson Hall. Dr. J. Anthony Sharp, director of the Aviation Science program, said the students had a wonderful time learning about the aviation industry. "On the first full day of the academies, the ACE students met Tuskegee Airman Sgt. Grant Williams. He talked with them about the difficulties that young men in the Tuskegee era faced. He also discussed the many opportunities students now have and the importance of a good education," Sharp said. "It’s our pleasure as faculty to bring these students here each summer and help them realize they may have the potential to earn a degree in a field of study they never before considered-the bachelor of science degree in aviation science, which is offered here at ECSU." Sharp said academy participants completed aviation projects and toured the Elizabeth City Regional Airport, Norfolk International Airport and Dare County Airport. The ACE Academies also wouldn’t have been complete without visits to the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk, N.C., site of the first successful airplane flights in 1903. Students also visited the control tower, radar center and fire station at the Norfolk International Airport in Norfolk, Va. Each of the students spent time in ECSU flight simulators, and each of them flew aboard ECSU’s airplanes Air Viking I and Air Viking II. The students took turns accompanying licensed pilots, Dr. Anthony Sharp and Dwayne Morrison, on flights within the region. ECSU faculty and staff look forward to continuing their work with the FAA to operate the ACE Academies in the future. The success of the summer is expected to continue, with even greater numbers of students signing up to participate in the 2013 ACE Academies.