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Dr. Melissa M. Lacey, Senior Aerospace Science Instructor, at left, and Sylvia Lambert, Principal at Bob Jones High School, at right, congratulate aviation scholarship winners Nicholas Boykin, from left, and Jake Palenapa. Other winners not in photograph are Joe Palenapa and Andrew Girgis. CONTRIBUTED

Bob Jones cadets earn scholarships for pilot training

MADISON – Cadets in Air Force Junior ROTC or AFJROTC at Bob Jones High School have earned flight academy scholarships to attend an aviation university of their choosing that will offer private pilot training during the summer months.

Nicholas Boykin, Andrew Girgis (as alternate), Jake Palenapa and Joe Palenapa have received scholarships. Retired Maj. Dr. Melissa M. Lacey, who teaches AFJROTC cadets as Senior Aerospace Science Instructor, and Bob Jones Principal Sylvia Lambert presented the scholarship awards to the cadets.

“What a great honor to have four cadets from Bob Jones out of the 200 AFJROTC cadets from around the world to receive a scholarship from the Headquarters of Air Force Junior ROTC, Maxwell Air Force Base, in Montgomery, Ala.,” Bob Jones spokesperson and AFJROTC Cadet Brandon Clark said. “Over 2,575 cadets applied for the chance to get one of the 200 scholarships.”

“These scholarships cover transportation, room and board, academics, flight hours and more of the requirements to earn a private pilot’s license,” Clark said.

“When asking the candidates how they felt about being chosen for the opportunity, Joe Palenapa said, ‘Once I heard about the flight academy, I knew I had to apply. I cannot thank God enough for this opportunity, and I know it will only add to my interest of flight,’” Clark said.

“I’m honored to be given this opportunity,” Nicholas Boykin said. “I’ve always wanted to learn to fly and to be able to receive such training for free is like a dream come true.”

The Flight Academy Scholarship program is an Air-Force level initiative, created in collaboration with the commercial aviation industry. The program aims to solve the increasing shortage in national civilian and military pilots.

“Those who take part in the program do not incur a military commitment to the Air Force or other branches of service, nor does completing the program guarantee acceptance into one of the military’s commissioning programs,” Clark said.

Air Force Junior ROTC’s mission is to develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community while instilling values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment.

“When looking to fill tomorrow’s career needs with the best candidates, there’s no better place for the nation to look than Air Force Junior ROTC,” Clark said. “Way to go, Bob Jones Air Force JROTC!”

Also working as an AFJROTC instructor, retired Chief Master Sgt. Ellis Clark served for 30 years with the United States Air Force. At Bob Jones, he coaches the Archery, Drill, Honor Guard and Marksmanship Teams.

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