The Aviation Academy through the Marion Regional Career Center has received a partnership award from the Indiana Department of Education. The two-year-old collaborative program was presented the accolade during the IDOE’s annual Awards for Excellence. The program was developed by a small group of individuals who share in the same vision to give students a hands-on education in aviation. In lieu of learning aviation in a classroom, students are at the Marion Airport.
An instrumental partner is longtime educator and aviation board leader, Jim McKinney. “For the past fifty years, I have seen the potential for young people in aviation. I have had a strong desire to do something to share my enthusiasm with young men and women interested in aviation. When the opportunity came along to develop a high school aviation program, I was excited to share my vision with the local school administration.” McKinney expressed he was elated that his vision had materialized and has been successful since its introduction. “It was with their support that my dream for creating a high school aviation program could come to fruition. I am grateful for the opportunity that has been awarded me to work with these young men and women, and to share my passion for flying.”
The other partnering individuals include MRCC Director Mike Ripperger, Aviation Teacher Scott Simpson, Aviation Maintenance Teacher Jeff McLaughlin, and former Marion School Board Member Dr. Harry Hall.
The MRCC Aviation Academy is made possible through the MRCC, City of Marion, Marion Municipal Airport, Air Marion, & the Jim McKinney Air & Space Foundation. In March, a press release through Marion Community Schools stated, “these partners see aviation as a growing area and one of the keys to attracting new businesses to Grant County.”