Raisbeck Aviation High School celebrates grand opening

SEATTLE, Wash. – The Raisbeck Aviation High School (RAHS) celebrated its grand opening at Boeing Field on Thursday, Oct. 17. The school, part of the Highline Public Schools, is located on the Museum of Flight campus.

The day started with a unique “bus ride” for 100 fortunate RAHS students and a few dozen school staff, supporters and dignitaries. They arrived via an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900ER, dubbed “Spirit of Education” from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

“Congratulations to everyone on the flight who earned four Alaska Airlines frequent flyer miles on the flight from Sea-Tac to Boeing Field,” noted a chuckling Mike Hallman, Museum of Flight Chairman of the Board of Trustees during the program.

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“Having this school on the grounds of the Museum of Flight, so close to more than 200 aviation industry businesses like Boeing and Alaska Airlines, gives our students something truly special — an unparalleled chance to be simultaneously immersed in learning and industry,” said Reba Gilman, CEO and Principal of RAHS.

That proximity has lead to 245 aerospace industry mentors and 170 aerospace internships for 400 students. RAHS has to be the definition of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) school.

“I’ve not often wished I could return to high school,” said Ray Conner, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “But if I did, I know where I’d be. Thank you,” while pointing at James and Sherry Raisbeck, “for making this happen.”

RAHS cost $44.5 million to design and build. About 35%, $16 million, came from private (individual and foundation) sources.

“My son [Sebastien Hill] is there [U.S. Air Force fighter pilot school], because of here,” said proud father Doug Hill as he introduced James Raisbeck.

“When we put our minds to it, it is amazing what we [public/private partnerships] can do,” said Raisbeck.

As the story goes from Doug Hill, Raisbeck made quite an impression on his then young son. While at a Pathfinders Award event, Raisbeck told young Hill, “when you go to work, it should feel like you’re seeing your girlfriend for the very first time.” Hill came home and told his Dad that he had “met the coolest guy” that night.

Raisbeck concluded by saying he hopes to “slip in the back door from time-to-time and start learning all over again.”

I have a feeling Raisbeck can drop by anytime he likes.

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