At TWWH we believe in dreams. Kids should have dreams, big dreams. We know just a few who dream to fly, and we want to help them pursue that dream. ✈️ To do so, we launched our first National Flight Academy scholarship in 2019, where one lucky Esther Marie Lopez was shipped off on an incredible skill-building NFA flight mission. We then launched our second social media campaign in 2022 to give away another scholarship for the National Flight Academy's 6-Day Deployment, July 31st to August 5th. During their deployments, student-pilots stay overnight aboard the NFA's flagship for three days and work in a team squadron format to collaborate and complete missions. Facilitators and chiefs challenge them to use critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, innovation, teamwork, and information gathering as well as communication technology literacy and adaptability. At the National Flight Academy, ambition is guaranteed. Check out the impact the NFA is having on our community's inspiring students:
TWWH Attended and Was Very Impressed by the Flight Academy
Taylor, Warren & Weidner participated in a National Flight Academy retreat several years back where the attorneys and staff had to work together to make calculations and tactical decisions, much like the students will in the 6-Day Deployment, and the team was really impressed with the program, the NFA staff, the educational opportunity, and the amazing flight simulator. We want to give this valuable team-building, problem solving lesson to a child in our community.
Our 2022 NFA 6-Day Deployment Scholarship
We accepted nominations from any Escambia or Santa Rosa parent who wanted to enter their 7th-12th grader along with a few sentences telling us about their awesome student and why he or she wants to participate in NFA's immersive, 6-day mission and a photo we could share. We were excited and impressed by the variety and character of the student nominations we received. The firm decided to select three finalists internally from a vote by our staff and attorneys and put the three finalists up on our Facebook page for a final vote by our followers. As you will see from the touching write-ups below, it was very difficult to decide, but we are excited to give one of these amazing students the opportunity to build their confidence and team-building skills during a National Flight Academy deployment. Our internal selections are below, followed by the entirety of the nominations received.
At the outset, we must say how very tough it was to decide among all of these well-qualified, adventurous students. As such, we have decided to donate another seat on the National Flight Academy's Fly Like the Blues Cruise next year as well so there will be more opportunities for these and other students to win. After putting the nominees to a firm vote, by a very slight margin, the group selected to following two finalists to put up to our Facebook following for a final vote:
1. Mason Pridgen
2. Pablo Gagnon
3. Madalyn ("Maddie") Briggs
We put these three finalists up for a final poll vote on our page in March 2022 and the followers chose Pablo Gagnon, who was thrilled to be selected. Pablo attended the deployment from July 31 to August 5, 2022 and graduated the program with high honors.
Our 2022 National Flight Academy Nominations
Here are the nominations we received:
Mason is a high school student and a leader in the Civil Air Patrol in Alabama and has completed the “Aviation 101” Course with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. While only still in high school, Mason has completed and earned 42 college credits, 10 of which are from the Alabama Aviation College in Airframe Maintenance Technology. His Civil Air Patrol mentor, Kevin Loughnane, who nominated Mason told us: “Mason was most recently nominated for, earned, and presented the Alabama Wing of the Civil Air Patrol's Frank G. Brewer Aerospace Education Award. This award is granted to individuals who have made outstanding contributions out of selfless devotion to the advancement of youth in aerospace activities. Mason is also an exceptional and unique young leader who is a critical thinker, an excellent communicator, and a strong collaborator.”
Pablo is a sophomore at Pace High School who will graduate in 2024. Pablo is in his second year of Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and is on the Armed Exhibition drill team, Orienteering team, and Academics team. With a background of being surrounded by military family members, he has set his goals to become a Military Pilot. His father, James Gagnon, a USAF veteran, who nominated him, told us: “Pablo has a passion for Aviation. He loves to fly any chance he can. He loves WWII military aircraft. He has goals of attending the USAF Academy upon graduation from high school. Pablo has worked tirelessly early mornings and late afternoons practicing his ROTC routines. He's also worked very hard to achieve all A's and B's in his core classes.” James nominated Pablo to give him “an experience with memories that will last him a lifetime.”
Madalyn ("Maddie") Briggs
Maddie is an advanced pre-algebra/algebra student at Redeemer Lutheran School. She is an avid and skilled soccer player who wants to serve in the U.S. Navy as a Navy SEAL when she grows up. Her teacher, Lindy Moran, a retired Navy captain, who nominated Maddy, told us: “She has more focus and drive than any student I have taught to date. She is an active, assertive learner, pays attention, and asks thoughtful questions. She is a natural leader. She sees what needs to be done in a situation, sets a goal, and organizes and encourages her classmates to accomplish it (no small task because they are all highly intelligent individualists!). I tease her that if you threw her in a pool of alligators, she'd subdue all the alligators. Maddy will be an awesome leader in that future world and going to the National Flight Academy will help her to build and reinforce those STEM and leadership and team building skills she will need to be most effective.”
From Owen's mother: I would like to nominate Owen Thompson for the 6-day deployment with the National Flight Academy. As a student, Owen excels in math and science and his STEM areas of interest include aviation, quantum, nuclear, and astro physics as well as astrobiology and math. Owen is a unique candidate as he has been homeschooled 1st through 8th grades and will dual enroll in college beginning his freshman year of high school. Owen is an active member of the Civil Air Patrol as a Cadet in the Reno (NV) Composite Squadron. In high school, he plans to train and participate in CAP's Search and Rescue missions as well as to complete his private pilot's license prior to graduation.
Owen's interests and career goals are to work in either quantum or nuclear physics, work for NASA or become a military or commercial pilot. He hopes to one day fly some of the largest aircraft in the world including the C-17, C-5 Galaxy, B-52, or C-130 or to pilot the 777-9. Ultimately, Owen dreams to one day set a World Record for most passengers flown across the Atlantic in a pilot's career. If chosen, Owen feels this opportunity will significantly further his understanding of and passion for careers in flight.
Olivia Di Napoli
It is with immense pleasure that I nominate Olivia Di Napoli for the Summer 2022 National Flight Academy Deployment. Having grown up in an aviation family, I realize the critical need to develop future aviators. Furthermore, as a US Air Force Academy graduate and retired Air Force officer, I understand the importance of mentoring a diverse range of students interested in flying and STEM. Having watched Olivia grow into a thoughtful and focused young woman, I know that she is the best fit for this "deployment."
Currently a high school sophomore, Olivia is enthusiastic about science and technology, and aspires to have an aviation career. Always aiming high, she recently completed a course hosted by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium, a STEM-based program partnered by NASA and multiple state universities to promote aerospace education and research. Completing this unique opportunity only solidified her intent to follow this career path.
Understanding the importance of education, Olivia has maintained a solid academic standing through her first two years of high school and is on course to continue this level of performance in all her studies. This determination and pursuit of academic excellence serves her well in her quest for an aeronautic career.
Olivia is incredibly involved in her school and community, and constantly seeks out opportunities to participate. A valued member of her high school lacrosse team, she routinely steps into leadership roles and is a natural when shouldering these responsibilities. In the community, she is a regular volunteer at a local equine ranch that provides therapy to those with cognitive, psychological, and physical disabilities. Olivia excels in her role helping to maintain a safe and comfortable atmosphere for all patients. Both her athleticism and community outreach exemplify the attributes of a born trailblazer.
"When you have once tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." This quote really spoke to me about my fondness and admiration for aviation.
Hello, my name is Carter Roberts. I am a 15 year old freshman who attends Lincoln High School in Tallahassee. I am an active Boy Scout in Troop 23 currently at Life rank working on my Eagle project. Since I was a young child, I have always had interests in science. The summer after 3rd grade, I visited the National Naval Aviation Museum with my grandfather, who was a pilot in the Air Force Reserves. I was in awe of all of the planes and other aviation history there, however what was especially intriguing to me was seeing the U.S. Navy Blue Angels in flight. It was so impactful I entered an art contest that summer and won 1st place…a fond memory for me. My interest specifically in aviation and flying surfaced again three years ago. During one of our Boy Scout meetings, we had a visit from an Air Force Thunderbird. He told us all about his experiences as a pilot and how fun it was to fly thousands of feet above ground along while sharing some videos about his chosen career path. From that day forward, my dream and goal has been to learn more about aviation, get my pilot's license, and become a pilot. The unique opportunity to attend the National Flight Academy would allow me to explore my interests further, meet like-minded teenagers who also have shared interests, and challenge myself with all this program has to offer. Thank you for taking the time to review my entry.
I would like to nominate Colby Sayles for the Flight Academy Scholarship. I have known Colby since he was a little boy. His bedroom was decorated with airplanes, his Halloween costume was always a pilot and he drug his parents to more Blue Angel airshows than they care to remember. Well, that amazing little boy has grown up but his passion for flying and airplanes has never faltered. I was expecting him to move on to other interests, but I realize now that his love of flight is deeply part of who he is. The experience at the National Flight Academy is something he would remember for the rest of his life. Winning this scholarship would be a dream come true for him. Colby is one of the nicest, hardworking and driven kids I know. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this honor.
I would like to nominate my son Coleman Paul for National Flight Academy. Coleman is a remarkably bright 12-year old who also is caring, inquisitive, and kind. He is BSA Scout, has enjoyed participating in scouting for the past 7 year, and is an avid swimmer. Coleman is the 3rd of 6 children and excels at everything he sets his mind to, conquering any obstacles in his way. Coleman is helpful at our home, never hesitates to help out our neighbors when needed, and has an incredibly high IQ. He would be a fabulous addition to any National Flight Academy Deployment.
I would like to nominate my grandson, William Renaud, age 13 for the Ambition Experimental Pilot deployment. William is currently in the Florida Virtual School FT in the advanced academic 6-8 gifted curriculum. He is enrolled in accelerated math with a 93% grade and advanced science with a 92% grade. William has always excelled in math and represented his school, Cordova Park Elementary while he was in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades, in the county wide "Sunshine Math" competition.
William has played several years of baseball and ice hockey, which has helped him learn to be a "team player". I have another grandson that is autistic, and I have been touched and impressed by how patient and understanding William is with his cousin. He willingly offers a great deal of his time to help his cousin. William is a very selfless person and often helps his parents and grandparents around the house.
We discovered this opportunity by chance. William asked me to take him to the National Aviation Museum and in the process of researching online, discovered your firm's offer on Facebook. He was very excited about what the program offers. He enjoys being challenged, and I believe he would rise to the occasion if he was provided this opportunity.