When the Victor-Farmington Rotary Club teamed with the Rochester City School District in support of a high school senior with a project idea involving aviation, the experience exceeded everyone’s expectations.
Melinda Caparco teaches seniors at the School for Integrated Arts and Technology. She requires her students to do an end-of-the-year project, hopefully in the field they want to enter as adults. To augment the projects, teachers look for mentors for their students.
Jorge Rodriguez student wanted to be a pilot. That’s when Rotarian and Ontario County EDC board member Karen Parkhurst thought of Bob Mincer, manager of the Canandaigua Airport. Mincer jumped at the opportunity to help connect Rodriguez with local professional pilot Brian “Waldo” Moore.
“This is the first time we have worked with high school students,” Parkhurst said. “I know firsthand that most of these students cannot imagine some of the careers that are available. Jorge was almost ready to give up on finding a mentor and was trying to think of another project. Bob saved the day for this young man.“
Rodriguez was introduced to aeronautical fundamentals during the course of the interview, which ended with an unexpected 45-minute plane ride in Moore’s Piper Cub. Rodriguez was at the controls for 15 minutes, which “sealed the deal” according to Moore.
“I have taught Jorge for six years,” Caparco said. “I have never seen him smile so much and look so happy. He spent an hour telling me all about his experience and he will be taking flight classes soon.“
Mincer pointed out a growing shortage with increasing demand for people in aviation careers.
“This amounts to great opportunities for students interested in becoming pilots, aircraft mechanics and air traffic controllers,” he said. “Youth outreach will be an essential objective as developments of the Canandaigua Airport progress”
Canandaigua Airport, 2450 Brickyard Road, will host its second annual chicken barbecue benefiting the Red Jacket High School Flying Club from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 15. The $12 meals from CR7 Catering consist of a half-chicken, salt potatoes and coleslaw.
Representatives from the New York State Police Helicopter Aviation Unit, Mercy Flight Central, Civil Air Patrol, Canandaigua Fire Department and Ontario County Sheriff’s Office are set to attend. The event will feature drone demonstrations, airplane rides and display aircraft.
Proceeds will help support the only high school in the state with a club dedicated to helping students become certificated private pilots before they graduate. Email firstname.lastname@example.org information.