May 31, 2023

SMR Celebrates Flight Academy Opening


An endowment from The Patuxent Partnership has enabled St. Mary’s Ryken High School to install a STEM lab flight program. TPP board members joined faculty and staff of the school to celebrate the opening on May 3.

The donated National Flight Academy program was funded by a grant from Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division.

SMR Flight Academy is an interactive classroom space that provides students with the opportunity to gain experience in the field of aviation. Students use software and flight simulators to learn what it is like to be a pilot and the importance of math and science principles to flight. Students enrolled in the Scholars Program Engineering Pathway will benefit from the flight program integration in their curriculum, as will students in other studies and through club and extracurricular activities.

“The Flight Academy allows us to take what we learned in our aerospace class, about how a plane moves and how its instruments function and compare it to an actual simulation of a plane flying,” said St. Mary’s Ryken engineering student Jack DeLucco. “It allows us to understand the topics better by seeing as opposed to just being told how they function.”

In his remarks, SMR President Rick Wood said, “I would like to thank Bonnie Green, Lyn Whitmer, and all those involved in the vision to bring this program to St. Mary’s County. We are blessed to receive the gift of the flight simulators to connect our students to experiential learning through aviation and STEM. This will continue to bear fruit for our student body and our community in educating our young people through challenging, story-driven experiences where they can solve real-world problems in a fast-paced, immersive environment. Not only is this a perfect marriage with our Project Lead the Way aerospace engineering program, but in many other subject areas too.”

Through summer camps and afterschool programs, SMR students will have access to aviation and avionics.

“St. Mary’s Ryken is proud to provide these experiences to our community through generosity of The Patuxent Partnership,” he said.

The Flight Academy will also be available for SMR Summer Knights Camps, middle school STEM activities, and special programs open to the public throughout the school year.

About The Patuxent Partnership

The Patuxent Partnership is a nonprofit member organization that fosters collaboration between government, industry, and academia to advance education through STEM-based initiatives; to advance technology through speaker programs, forums, and networking; to advance science and technology transfer through the exchange of ideas, information, and data related to technologies; and to increase workforce development through an array of initiatives.

To learn more about The Patuxent Partnership and its programs, visit its Leader member page.

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