A new after-school course offering at Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School will lift 12 students to new heights in aviation and STEM.
At its meeting Monday, the Southern Worcester County Regional Vocational School Committee approved an extra-curricular aviation class titled Exploring the Fundamentals of Aviation Science.
The once-a-week session will offer science, technology, engineering and mathematics studies, known as STEM, and two college credits.
“The kids are going to enjoy learning about those topics inside this aviation course,” Superintendent-Director John A. Lafleche said. “It may spark a couple kids to go down that path into an aviation career.”
AeroVenture Institute, a family-owned and operated aviation school based at the Southbridge Municipal Airport, will conduct the course on the Bay Path campus.
George C. Allen, AeroVenture president, said the high school program is designed to encourage interest in and appreciation for aviation science.
Quoting a Boeing industry assessment, Mr. Allen said the demand for pilots and technicians is expected to exceed 1 million by 2034.
“In order to fly the big jets, you’ve got to start small, and that’s what we do,” he said. “It’s an awesome STEM education.”
On the benefit of exposing high schoolers to aviation, Capt. John Silverberg, an American Airlines pilot for more than 24 years, said, “The opportunities coming up for professional pilots are going to be astronomical. You’d be introducing these young men and women to an opportunity they may not see otherwise.”
Bethann G. Cormier, curriculum coordinator, said the Bay Path Education Foundation has offered to pay $200 of the $400 fee for each student.
“I think it’s going to be a terrific opportunity,” committee member Timothy M. Schur said.
The first offering is in January and will be limited to 12 students in Grades 10-12.
The 25-30 hours over 12-weeks will explore meteorology, engineering and aircraft maintenance, instrumentation, historical and social evolution of flight, communication skills, navigation, geography and math.
Each student will receive one flying lesson. At the completion of the course, students will earn two college credits from Adams College.