Two Springboro High School sophomore JROTC cadets are getting ready to launch.
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After a challenging application process, the two cadets were informed they had been airlifted above other candidates for Air Force Academy Scholarships. The occasion was a JROTC dining out at the Mandalay about a month ago.
“They officially announced it in front of everyone,” said Sadie Schindler, whose proud parents are Brett and Kelly Schindler of Springboro.
She was chosen as a primary candidate for the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Flight Academy Scholarship program. This scholarship is worth $20,000 of aviation training. The scholarship is given by Headquarters AFJROTC, Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala. It covers transportation, room and board, academics and flight hours required to earn a pilot’s license.
“At first I was very surprised. I am very excited about it, and up for the challenge,” said Schindler.
This is a $2.4 million dollar program to teach JROTC cadets across the nation how to fly and receive a private pilot’s license. The scholarship program was open to 120,000 cadets, from whom organizers received 700 applications by the December 1 deadline. They selected 120 primary candidates. Kaleb Priddy was the only alternate candidate from Ohio.
Schindler was the only primary candidate from Ohio. This summer, she will attend one of six partner universities across America, training for seven weeks to receive her pilot’s license. She was one of 35 females selected, and one of 12 sophomores selected nationwide.
“I’ll find out in about two months. My first choice would be Purdue,” said Schindler.
The Flight Academy Scholarship program is a new Air Force-level initiative with the commercial airline industry to address the national civilian and military pilot shortage. JROTC applications at SHS were submitted to Master Sergeant Mike Thiergart, and Lieutenant Colonel Todd Berrier.
“Sadie being selected as a primary candidate for the Air Force’s Chief of Staff Flight Academy Private Pilot Scholarship program is a tremendous opportunity for her,” said Berrier, senior aerospace science instructor at SHS. “As one of only 120 students selected nationwide, it’s a testament to the caliber of student she is. The entire staff and administration of Springboro High School is extremely proud of her.”
Air Force ROTC is a college program offered at more than 1,100 campuses nationwide. It prepares young men and women to grow physically and mentally, gaining valuable leadership values and skills.
“For my application, I pretty much stated why I should be selected to the program, attributes I would offer and how it would benefit me,” said Schindler, who has a GPA of 3.8. “One of my strongest attributes is my leadership, and a drive to better myself.”
In addition to JROTC, Schindler is involved in the Interact Club and Muse Machine at Springboro. She was asked what it would mean to her to become a pilot in the Air Force.
“It would show that I accomplished something, and I would feel a part of something bigger than myself,” said Schindler. “When I think of the Air Force, I think of a strong family that I would want to be a part of.”
She grew up in another strong family. She remembers first falling in love with flying as a fifth-grader, when they took one of their first vacations to North Carolina.
“In 10 years, I would want to be in charge, and leading a squadron,” said Schindler. “I want to try to benefit others, as well as myself.”
As an alternate candidate, Priddy must be ready to step in and fulfill all the requirements should he be called upon.
“My hope is that he gets the call and eventually becomes a primary candidate. He is an excellent student, very deserving of the opportunity,” said Berrier.
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Contact this contributing writer at PamDillon@woh.rr.com.