A Delaware Hayes High School junior will take flight this summer after he received a scholarship to attended an aviation university program.
Patrick Beck, a junior and cadet in the Delaware County AFJROTC program said Tuesday he’s wanted to be a pilot since he was a kid.
“I’ve wanted to be a pilot basically my entire life,” Beck said. “My grandfather used to take me up in his plane when I was a kid.”
Beck said he applied for the Flight Academy scholarship in September 2019 in hopes of being one of the 200 AFJROTC cadets selected to spend eight weeks this summer at a university. During this time, the cadets receive training for their private pilot’s license.
Beck added he had to complete a qualifying test and submit letters of recommendation from his AFJROTC instructor, retired United States Air Force Col. Floyd Anible.
The winners of the scholarship were announced Friday, and Beck said when he hadn’t heard anything he asked Anible about it.
“He said, ‘Funny thing you should mention that, I got an email 30 minutes ago and you made it,’” Beck said Tuesday. “I was like, ‘Really?’”
Beck said he couldn’t believe it when he learned he was one of the students chosen out of the 2,700-plus applicants.
“I was pretty excited,” he said. “I was in a little bit of disbelief. It was a little unexpected.”
Beck said being in the ROTC program at Hayes really helped him when it came to applying for the program.
“It motivated me a lot more,” he said. “With something like this, I don’t know if I would have done it. I’m shy personally, but AFJROTC has really helped me a lot and kept at me. I never would have known this would’ve existed without ROTC.”
Beck said his living, travel, and education expenses will be paid thanks to the scholarship, and he is looking forward to the program. He’s hoping to do the eight-week course at the University of North Dakota.
“From what I’ve seen, they go to the airshow that happens up there and they get to do the altitude chamber to learn about hypoxia and lack of oxygen,” Beck said. “Those are the kinds of things I’d enjoy learning about. It’s hard to get that training. There aren’t a lot of programs like this in terms of professional experience.”
Beck said he’s planning to attend Kent State University after graduation to study aviation and become an airline pilot.
The scholarship was given out by Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. Maxwell Air Force Base reported the value of the scholarship is approximately $22,000.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.