SEU Holds Graduation Ceremony for AFJROTC

After eight weeks of extensive training, 21 high school students and one United States Air Force Academy student will be recognized for their participation in the U.S. Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) Flight Academy program at a special graduation ceremony, with many of them receiving their private pilot’s license.

As one of 11 institutions in the U.S. awarded a contract with the AFJROTC Flight Academy, Southeastern University will hold the ceremony in celebration of the cadets’ accomplishments on Monday, July 19, from 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. in the King Sky Hangar of the Lakeland Linder International Airport.

The AFJROTC Flight Academy program provides scholarships for students to participate in their eight-week summer aviation training course in efforts to combat the current national pilot shortage in the U.S. As commercial airlines have begun hiring again, the military is sufficiently lacking in the number of pilots needed for its ranks. This year, more than 1,340 students from around the world applied for the 230 scholarships valued at approximately $22,500. 

In addition, the program encourages diversity among the aviation industry. According to the U.S. Air Force, “Women make up 5–6% of pilots and minorities represent less than 10–12%.” Among the 22 cadets training this year with Southeastern, six are women — a significant increase from the first year the university hosted the program, in which only three women participated. 

Current student Hannah Devenney said, “Being a part of this program has only solidified my plan to make aviation my career, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings! What made this program great was the people I got to be around every single day. I’m truly blessed to have been a part of this experience, and I have loved every second of it!” 

Southeastern is hosting the cadets, who originate from all across the country, including the states of Texas, Utah, Louisiana, Indiana, California, Colorado, Illinois and Florida, on their Lakeland campus.

“Being a part of this program has been a really fulfilling and wonderful experience for me. Flying planes has been a dream of mine ever since I was little, and I finally got to experience that this summer with the most amazing people. This group has really been my home away from home,” remarked cadet Avery Hamilton.

The participants who successfully complete the Flight Academy program will be awarded their Private Pilot’s Certification. This certification allows the individual to fly a private aircraft anywhere as long as they are in compliance with the airspace regulations set by the country of destination. 


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