Woodlake High School wins $100k for new online aviation curriculum

WOODLAKE, Calif. (KFSN) -- A South Valley high school is winning big for setting students on track for a career in aviation.

Woodlake High School won $100,000 for placing as a finalist in a nationwide competition.

"They were looking for some unique projects that schools can take on," said assistant principal Rudy Cardona. "At the time, aviation was really important to our area, directly fighting fires."

Woodlake High School submitted a plan to the Rural Tech Project, competing with dozens of other schools from across the country.

"In a nationwide contest, the chances of being selected are pretty slim, but a lot of times, just in the process of putting together a proposal, you come up with great ideas," said Principal Michael Burchett.

That great idea? An online aviation pathway curriculum for students, giving high school students the chance to get a head start on a potential career path.

"There's so much when it comes to ground operation or drone operations, whether they want to be an air traffic controller one day or work with drones," said Cardona.

The program is still in the planning phases but will have STEM classes tailored specifically to the topic.

"It's exposure to STEM fields. It's a connection to how tech and mathematics can apply to career fields," said Burchett.

Woodlake High School placed in the top five, bringing home enough money to put the curriculum in place. The first cohort of students is starting this August.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.