A Marion aviation graduate’s solar energy initiative is coming to life as she shapes a bright future.
Hartford City resident, Emma Jacobs, was a Blackford High School student looking for more opportunities than her small school provided when she found the Aviation Academy through the Marion Regional Career Center (MRCC). She enrolled in the two-year program in 2019. When she completed the program and graduated from BHS in 2020, she received more experience, achievement, and life-changing lessons than she had anticipated.
Jacobs was selected as an intern both summers for the Marion Municipal Airport during her time in the Aviation Academy. When asked to find a way to benefit the airport, she decided with support to research solar energy and its potential to save on costs while providing a viable clean energy source. “At the age of 18 at the time, Emma worked hard in all areas from research to contacting energy companies,” said Board of Aviation Commission President, Jim McKinney. From her initiative and focused work, the airport will begin a solar project with a groundbreaking on April 21st, 2022. Under a 25-year plan with energy company, Veregy, the airport will receive a locked-in rate for the duration to power about 90% of the airport including the runway lights, terminal building fuel system, large hangar housing the Aviation Academy, and more. Estimated cost savings over the project’s life is $178,000.
Before graduating, Jacobs received the McKinney Aerospace Scholarship of $1,000, and the Student of Excellence Award for Career and Technical Education through the State of Indiana, the only student from Marion to receive the award during the time.
While at Blackford High School, she was a 4.0 student heavily involved in extracurricular activities including sports, served as Secretary of the National Honor Society, and assisted special needs students through a program called Best Buddies.
Jacobs said the Aviation Academy helped push her to be the best person she could be. “I came out of my shell and built self-confidence. It’s an amazing feeling to gain such a great experience at a young age while helping the airport and the amazing people there.”
Now a sophomore at Purdue University, Jacobs is exploring a career in Elementary Education. She is a top 1% leader in the National Residence Hall Honorary Society, raises money for the annual Christmas for Kids program, and is active with Grace Church in West Lafayette.
Jacobs is most passionate about educating and helping students of the future. “They are our future. If we teach them and push them to the best of our ability, it benefits their future and ours.”