AOPA celebrates the aviation class of 2020

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Parents, flight instructors, and students share aviation milestones and future plansParents, flight instructors, and students share aviation milestones and future plans

May 27, 2020 By David Tulis

Scores of proud parents, flight instructors, and students themselves shared their favorite aviation-themed photos of graduating flight students during a coast-to-coast class of 2020 celebration. They honored the next generation of aviators by sharing details about the magic of first flights, the preparation for solos, the satisfaction of conquering checkride jitters, and aspirations to shape the future of aviation.

AOPA honors the class of 2020 with a photo gallery of images, words, and wisdom celebrating aviation accomplishments contributed by parents, flight instructors, and students. Photo illustration by Chris Rose.

One shining example is Alexa Dunn. The dual-enrollment honor student is graduating from both Rainier High School in Rainier, Washington, and nearby South Puget Sound Community College with an associate degree. She earned her helicopter pilot certificate at age 17 and is currently working on her commercial pilot certificate and her instrument rating. Dunn will be attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona, pursuing a degree in aeronautics. “Alexa started selling eggs from our family farm at age 12 to help pay for her lessons,” wrote her mom, Amy. “She also works as a writing tutor and has applied for scholarships to continue flying. She is a highly motivated and determined young woman who will go far in life!” 

Warrior Run High School senior Keegan Jenkins, from Turbotville, Pennsylvania, took the plight of fellow 2020 graduates to heart and turned to his father, Carl, who is a pilot, for help. Carl took his son up in the family’s Piper Cherokee for a skywriting mission to give encouragement to the high school seniors. The software-driven message was traced out in advance using ForeFlight. It spelled out the year 2020 and included a heart inside of a graduation cap and tassel to honor the class of 2020 seniors who are missing traditional commencement ceremonies due to the coronavirus pandemic. The tip of the heart falls directly over Jenkins’ high school.

“Here is one more effort to help the seniors at Warrior Run know that they are loved and honored for their time learning together,” Carl posted to social media. “It is our hope that when our seniors look back in 5, 10, 25, and 50 years they will remember

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