Mars Area Students to Have Access to College Aviation Courses
March 4, 2016
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  • The Mars Area School District will allow some students to train to be pilots or air traffic controllers while still in high school.

    The school board Tuesday approved a partnership with the Aviation Academy at Community College of Beaver County. The partnership will allow interested 10th through 12th grade students to take the specialized classes in the afternoons and Mars Area classes in the morning — much like vocational-technical students do.

    “It will take a unique individual who has some kind of an aspiration to get into the aviation field,” said Todd Kolson, high school principal. “They could jump-start their careers in high school.”

    Two Mars Area graduates attended the Aviation Academy, he added.

    There is no cost to the district. All costs will be paid by the students’ parents. The college will give Mars Area students the same tuition rate charged to Beaver County residents, Mr. Kolson said.

    Seneca Valley also has a partnership with the Aviation Academy. The classes are held at Beaver County Airport.

    The college Aviation Academy offers four paths: professional pilot, air traffic control, aerospace management and unmanned vehicles, or drones. A student completing the program will have his or her private pilot license.

    Students must have at least a 2.5 grade point average with good attendance and behavior records and be recommended by the counselor and principal.

    “I think it’s exciting,” said J. Dayle Ferguson, board president.

    In other action, the board approved hiring Janney Montgomery Scott as investment bankers to help with a bond issue not to exceed $10 million for various capital improvements.

    Sandy Trozzo, freelance writer: