Tulsa High School Students Explore Aviation Careers

A new aviation program at East Central High School introduces students to careers in aviation.

From flight simulators to drill presses, students in East Central’s aviation maintenance program try them all at Tulsa Tech.

“It’s pretty awesome to see freshmen come out…and see the airplanes and do some of the hands-on projects in 9th grade that they normally wouldn’t have been able to do until they were juniors or seniors,” said said Tulsa. Tech Aviation Program Coordinator, Sheryl Oxley.

She said it was important to expose students to all the different jobs in the aviation industry.

“The pilot shortage has been all over the news and stuff and a lot of people don’t think about the maintenance shortage. The number of maintenance technicians is going down,” Oxley said.

With 27 freshmen, the aviation maintenance program at East Central is brand new this year, so Tulsa Tech staff played an important role in getting it started.

“So it’s easier to say ‘hey, let’s see this, let’s get our hands on it, great where are we going to do this,’ which is why we did this workshop,” Oxley said.

The teachers from East Central and Tulsa Tech said today’s main focus is to give students a practical connection to what they learned in the classroom.

“Even if they weren’t interested before, I’m hoping that at least after today getting their hands on a plane will also generate a bit more interest,” Dwight Long said.

Long runs the program at East Central and said the goal is to give students the foundation they need to become aviation mechanics. He said it was great to see the students being inspired.

“That’s the nice thing about being a teacher, sometimes it’s your payment to have those kids come back and say ‘hey, look what I’m doing. I’m glad you were there to help me get to where I am now “and it just feels good,” Long said.