Mansfield ISD Aviation Club Helps Students Soar

Jordan Duran and airplane
Photo courtesy Mansfield ISD

Mansfield ISD Aviation Club Encourages Students To Pursue Dreams

The Mansfield School District is proud of creating students who soar through life.

In the case of one group of students, this is literal, the Aviation Club, which features students throughout the entire district interested in learning to fly airplanes.

The club has about 18 members, most of whom meet virtually. It is led by Danielle Flores, family consumer science teacher at Timberview High, where a few students meet in-person.

The only qualification to belong to the club is to be a MISD student, Flores said.

“I have hopes to grow and have the club go on fields trips to museums and fly-ins,” Flores said, adding that currently “Students can just come to the meetings, and I hope to share the passion and opportunity with all those who attend.”

Inspiring Students To Follow Their Dreams

Also, meetings are recorded, so anyone who misses can go back and watch online.

Flores said the idea came to her four years ago when her husband, a fellow teacher for his adult life, decided to pursue and aviation career.

“He has never grown up around aviation and knew nothing about it. Since we have three young boys, this was not something in which we could drop everything and have him pursue,” she said. “Through a lot of pain and sacrifice, we learned about so many aviation opportunities for high school and college-aged students. In the summer, I told my husband that I wanted everyone to know about these amazing opportunities, and I wanted to inspire students to follow their dreams.

“Getting pilot certifications is expensive. Being a pilot (not a commercial airline pilot) instructing students or flying banners in the sky can cost anywhere from $40,000 to $90,000. I wanted students to not be defeated nor give up, and I wanted to give them hope that there are ways to finance it.”

So at the beginning of this school year, she started the club and reached out to people from all over for advice and support.

Flying Solo At 16 Years Old

The club is already paying off for participants. Jordan Duran recently finished his first solo flight.

“Through the Aviation Club, I was able receive a flight scholarship. The club has really helped me a lot and continues to,” Duran said.

“Aviation Club has really opened my eyes and showed me that there’s so much more to life than we think,” said Jordyn Tiggs. “Aviation Club has given me the opportunity to broaden my horizons and be a part of something that’s going to benefit me in life and put me in the position where I want to be.”

Though there is not college credit through this club, the students might be able to achieve career-ready certifications that will help launch them into an aviation career upon graduation, Flores said.

“Also, I work with my students to connect them with scholarships and resources to help them with their aspirations,” she said.

Students Across Texas Want To Join & Take Flight

Flores said she has had requests from students all over the state to join the unique club. She hasn’t figured out all the logistics for that to happen (privacy and such), but she is hoping to open it up to anyone in the future.

“The aviation industry has some great opportunities for students from any and all backgrounds. We just need to prepare them so they are ready when the time comes,” she said. “Some students think it’s not for them because they know very little about aviation.

Others think it’s not for them because of the financial barrier.

“These statements are all untrue, and through the club I hope to show the students that there is a pathway to aviation for them. They only need to start.”

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Rick Mauch
Rick Mauch is a veteran of more than four decades in the media. He began writing in high school and immediately went into broadcasting for almost a decade after graduating, working his way to morning drive in Birmingham, Alabama. However, realizing how much he missed writing (though he did continue to do some during his time in top-40 radio), Rick returned to what he loved and has been doing it ever since. Rick's career has spanned a plethora of media outlets, including community journalism, sports, entertainment, politics and more. He's worked in print, broadcast and online media. He also spent several years doing public relations for a children's home in East Texas - still writing on the side, of course. When he's not writing, Rick loves to play golf and do Bigfoot research. He's an avid believer. He also made his first hole-in-one in June of 2020. Rick is married to Junell Mauch. They have five children and three granddaughters