Aspiring pilots win Young Eagles scholarships

Four young people are on the path to fulfilling their aviation dreams as recipients of scholarships through the EAA Young Eagles Scholarship Program, which funds flying lessons and flight experiences for teenage student pilots interested in aviation and aviation careers.

These flight-training scholarships are awarded to students ages 16-20 who have completed the majority of the online Sporty’s Complete Pilot Training Course, part of the EAA Flight Plan which creates a clear pathway to aviation participation, as well as the FAA written test (for the Harrison Ford and Gathering of Eagles scholarships).

Scholarship recipients are:

Harrison Ford Scholarship, $7,500: Elijah Young of Ashland, Ohio: Young, 16, has completed the Sporty’s course and passed his FAA written test with the ultimate goal of becoming a commercial pilot. An active member in church and community activities, Young is hoping to utilize his pilot skills toward mission and relief efforts, transporting food, medicine, clothing, and personnel as needed. He also has assisted in the coordination of several community fundraising efforts as well as volunteers in a vocalist group that performs for various local agencies.

The scholarship is named for Harrison Ford, who served as EAA’s Young Eagles chairman from 2004-09 and has made numerous contributions to the general aviation community. By funding this endowment, Angela and Jim Thompson have created an enduring legacy of Ford’s contribution to youth and general aviation.

Gathering of Eagles Scholarship, $7,500: Christopher Cecil of Mariposa, Calif.: Cecil, 17, has completed the Sporty’s course and passed his FAA written test with the ultimate goal of becoming a pilot within the California Highway Patrol. An active volunteer in his community, Cecil is a command sergeant major in Fresno Composite Squadron 112 of the Civil Air Patrol’s California Wing.

This award is valued at $7,500 at a qualified flight school of the student’s choice. Contributions for this scholarship are raised from the Gathering of Eagles fundraiser, held annually at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis.

Rolls-Royce Scholarships, $1,500 each: Richard Ramunno of Eagle, Colo., and Kelsey Scheppers of Holts Summit, Mo.: Ramunno, 17, first flew with a flight instructor at age 13 and already has 17 hours logged toward his private pilot’s certificate. An honors student and three-sport athlete at Eagle Valley High School, Ramunno also serves on the school’s student council, is vice president of D.A.D.D. (Devils Against Drunk Driving), and volunteers extensively in the community. He plans on pursuing a college degree in aviation technology.

Scheppers, 17, received her aviation inspiration from her father, who recently earned his private pilot’s certificate and is making modifications to an assembled Zenith 701. An honors student who participates in several extracurricular activities, Scheppers has attended numerous academic and aviation summer camps, including “Women Soar You Soar” during EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., and will be attending the 2012 EAA Air Academy. She and her father are active members of EAA Chapter 429 based in Jefferson City, Mo.

“Rolls-Royce salutes these fine young future aviators for their hard work and dedication toward fulfilling their ambition to fly,” said Greg Fedele, Vice President, Rolls-Royce Helicopters and Light Turboprops. “We encourage them to continue their efforts and hope they enjoy an exciting and rewarding future in aviation.”

Rolls-Royce has been a participant at EAA events for more than 20 years.

“The excitement and passion for flight is very strong among young people, and these scholarships will allow them to fulfill those dreams,” said Rod Hightower, EAA President/CEO. “It’s essential to support well-rounded, community-minded young people trying to reach their aviation goals. Congratulations to Elijah, Christopher, Richard, and Kelsey for being part of the next generation of aviators. Rolls-Royce, along with all of our scholarship contributors, understands that it’s essential to support young people trying to reach their aviation goals, and EAA very much appreciates their commitment to the future of flight.”

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