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Galesburg teen selected for ‘AIM HIGH Flight Academy’

The ‘AIM HIGH Flight Academy' is for full-time students in high school, college, or enlisted servicemembers between the ages of 16 and 23.
Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 6:42 PM CDT
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GALESBURG, Ill. (KWQC) - The Air Force Recruiting Service’s ‘AIM HIGH Flight Academy’ is a program for students looking to take their passion for aviation to new heights. Later this year, Kailyn Shepherd, a Galesburg Christian High School student, will take part.

“I thought it was a great opportunity even though I would have to work hard to get into it. I’ve always really liked aviation,” Shepherd said.

Shepherd’s thoughts on a career in aviation and the military took off at a young age.

“I’ve always had a passion for the military since I was really little, but I think I started thinking about aviation definitely in like sixth grade,” Shepherd said. “I was definitely like, ‘That’s what I want to do in the military.’”

The ‘AIM HIGH flight Academy’ is for full-time students in high school, college, or enlisted servicemembers between the ages of 16 and 23. Shepherd is one of only 72 people to be selected.

“It’s a stem-based program that focuses on flying the plane and also the different parts of the airplane. You are also learning not only to fly the plane but also learning what instruments on the dial do what,” Shepherd said. “It’s definitely an introduction to how you fly and be safe also. It feels pretty good to be selected. I think they said that this year over 1,000 applicants applied.”

One of Shepherd’s biggest inspirations is her father, Aaron Shepherd, a retired army veteran, and he said he could not be any prouder of all that his daughter has accomplished.

“I mean, I can’t really put it into words. As a father, you just want your kids to do great, and that’s all you can wish for,” Aaron Shepherd said. “The sky is the limit when it comes to the military, especially aviation. It’s something she can make a career out of. Hopefully, if she likes it she can continue in the military. If she doesn’t, she can always get out and try something else.”

Kailyn Shepherd said she has flown a plane before and that she is excited about this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Keeping the plane level with the horizon is also kind of difficult because there is so much stuff to look out around you,” Shepherd said. “It’s definitely a new experience.”

Shepherd said applicants needed letters of recommendation from their school, an outside organization, and a GPA over 3.5. Students selected for the ‘AIM HIGH Flight Academy’ will have all of their expenses paid for by the Air Force Recruiting Services.

Shepherd will participate in the ‘AIM HIGH Flight Academy” program that runs from June 25 to July 16 in Florida.

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