100 is a big number. And to prove it, think what you’d do if you found a $100 bill lying on the ground. Would you walk on by or bend over and pick it up?
I’d pick it up. I bet you would too.
On Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, Blaise Kessler earned his Private Pilot Certificate.
And Blaise’s milestone is part of a larger milestone for Lakeland, Florida’s Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE).
You see, Blaise became ACE’s 100th certificated private pilot.
ACE was created in 2012 with huge support from the James C. Ray Foundation and the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo. Located on the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus, ACE is a nationally-recognized leader in STEM-related and aerospace education.
It also boasts one of the biggest fundraisers around…the annual SUN ‘n FUN fly-in (now called the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo). That’s right, all of us who attend SUN ‘n FUN are supporting — directly — the creation of the next generation of pilots, maintainers, controllers, airport managers, engineers, and more.
Currently, the ACE program has more than 40 pilots in various stages of flight training and awards up to four new scholarships each month. And via a cool new program extension called “Florida Takes Flight,” the program extends outside Lakeland’s Polk County to include students in six other Florida counties. Each student is sponsored and — more importantly — mentored by members of the Experimental Aircraft Association, the Civil Air Patrol, and the 99s.
ACE graduates have “become active duty military, airline captains, aircraft maintenance technicians, mentors, students, and boundless aviation enthusiasts,” says Richele Floyd, Director of Scholarships for ACE. “Blaise Kessler not only accomplished a major life goal, but was a great example of the type of young adult we are trying to foster by overcoming personal challenges.”
While Blaise is just one, he’s one of what is today 100. In the days, weeks, months and years ahead, he’ll be one of thousands.
Congratulations to Blaise and ACE for reaching a notable milestone. No doubt the best is yet to come.