Years ago, I was invited to serve as a judge at a middle school science club’s project fair. Just before things got started a teacher walked in with a big basket and loudly proclaimed, “Free snacks!” As you might expect, there was a stampede.
I shook my head.
Those tasty treats represented an opportunity to teach those students there is a cost associated with everything, including snacks. Just because the snacker doesn’t have to pay doesn’t mean they’re free.
That memory resurfaced when my email inbox included a notice that Van Nuys Airport (VNY) in Southern California will once again host its free annual Aviation Careers Education (ACE) Academy July 19-21, 2022.
The academy is open to all middle and high schools students. Priority will be given to students who live in areas neighboring the airport.
The flyer promoting the event uses the word FREE twice. Near the top of the flyer, “It’s FREE!” and in the body of the flyer, “Los Angeles World Airports’ Aviation Careers Education (ACE) Academy is a FREE three-day motivational program designed to introduce students to career opportunities within the aviation/aeronautical industry.”
Don’t misunderstand my curmudgeonliness. I’m thrilled the ACE Academy is one the airport’s educational outreach programs. And those lucky enough to attend shouldn’t have to pay.
But that doesn’t mean the ACE Academy is free.
I believe a “three-day motivational program designed to introduce students to career opportunities within the aviation/aeronautical industry” should also include the associated costs with such a career.