Tulsa High School Students Get Close-Up Look At Aviation Careers


Wednesday, November 2nd 2022, 5:41 pm

By: Matt Rahn


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A new aviation program at East Central High School is introducing students to aviation careers.

From flight simulators to drill presses, students from East Central's aviation maintenance program are trying them all at Tulsa Tech.

"It's kind of great to see freshman coming out ... and getting to see the airplanes and do some of the hands-on projects in 9th grade that they wouldn't normally get to do until they were Juniors or seniors," said Tulsa Tech Aviation Program Coordinator, Sheryl Oxley.

She said getting students exposed to all the different jobs in the aviation industry is important.

"The pilot shortage has been broadcast all over the news and everything else and a lot of people don't think about the maintenance shortage. The number of maintenance technicians out there is dwindling," Oxley said.

With 27 freshmen, the aviation maintenance program at East Central is brand new this year, so staff at Tulsa Tech have been playing a big role in getting it off the ground.

"So it's easier to say 'hey let's go out and see it, let's go put our hands on it, great where do we do that,' so that's why we arranged this workshop," said Oxley.

Teachers from both East Central and Tulsa Tech said the main goal of today is giving students a hands on connection with what they've learned in the classroom.

"Even if they weren't interested before, I'm hoping at least after today, getting their hands on and airplane will spark some more interest as well," said Dwight Long.

Long heads the program at East Central and said the goal is to give students the foundation they need to become aviation mechanics. He said it's great to see the students be inspired.

"That's the nice part about being a teacher, sometimes that's your payment is having those kids come back and say 'hey look what I'm doing. I'm glad that you were there to help me get to where I'm at now' and it's just a good feeling," said Long.

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