McAlester High School takes flight with education grant from the Aeronautics Commission

OKLAHOMA CITY – Fifty organizations were awarded Aerospace and Aviation Education Program grants totaling over $365,000 at the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission’s (OAC) August meeting. Grants are for targeted learning programs that have a direct application to aerospace and aviation for primary through post-secondary education. The grant funds are part of the agency’s initiative to give more Oklahoma young people access to STEM careers in the aerospace and aviation industry.

The commission approved an $8,000 education grant for the McAlester High School Aerospace and Engineering course. The class aims to prepare over 500 students in grades 9-12 to take the Private Pilot and Part 107 Remote Pilot certification written test using the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association curriculum. Students will gain exposure to the aviation and aerospace industry, from the history of aviation to flight simulator experience.


“As a former U.S. Army pilot, the aeronautics and aerospace industry is near and dear to my heart,” said Sen. Warren Hamilton, R-McCurtain. “The McAlester High School Aerospace and Engineering course will be pivotal to inspiring the next generation of pilots, engineers and even U.S. Military members. I’m proud of McAlester High School for implementing such an impressive program, and thankful to the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission for their support of our local schools.”

The Aerospace and Aviation Education Grant Program has been awarding aviation education grants for over 30 years. Charged with the mission by state statute, the Commission fosters and encourages students to consider aerospace or aviation as a career. The Commission’s grant program has years of positive results. The initiative supports the Oklahoma Works project that aims to address the skills gap and connect students to programs that will help build the workforce of Oklahoma’s second-largest industry.

“This is a great opportunity for students at McAlester High School to learn more about the aeronautics and aviation fields and to take STEM courses, which will help them in many possible future career paths,” said Rep. Jim Grego, R-Wilburton. “I’m thankful to the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission for awarding these grants.”

The OAC’s nationally recognized program enjoys a positive reputation as one of the most robust aviation education programs among state aviation agencies. For the 2021-22 school year, Oklahoma will rank #3 in the country in the number of schools teaching the AOPA curriculum. Since FY2001, the Commission has awarded $4.15 million in aerospace and aviation education grants.

“Through aviation education, McAlester Public Schools has taken steps to make a real difference in the lives of their students. We know that these educators are providing students with valuable insight into the potential for a future aviation and aerospace career, and we wish them great success with their program,” said Paula Kedy, MA. Ed., Aerospace and Aviation Education Coordinator for the Commission.

Watch the full meeting at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfvqUmcWmrY&t=15s.