Martin County Airport/Witham Field (KSUA) in Florida was recently awarded the 2016 Community Affairs Award by the Florida Airports Council for its “Cleared for Take-Off” outreach program that introduces students to aviation through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
Airport staff worked with the local aviation community and non-profit organizations to increase student awareness of the functions and benefits of a general aviation airport in the community. Airport Manager George Stokus accepted the award last week in St. Augustine.
The “Cleared for Take-Off” program introduced students to a curriculum path of aviation education through airport tours, exhibits and live demonstrations of aircraft.
Students were introduced to potential aviation vocations and the program has helped bridge the communication gap between the public and private entities at the airport, according to county officials.
Local businesses contributed funds to bring aviation computer resources, including a flight simulator, to create a STEM classroom at J.D. Parker Elementary School. Since partnering with J.D. Parker, the school has outperformed several other schools locally.
“This program would not have been possible without all the support we received,” said Stokus. “We are proud “Cleared for Take-Off” has had such a positive impact on the community, and possibly even helped produce a future aviation workforce.”