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New After-School Aviation Class Begins At Muskegon Heights Middle School

Andrew Trzaska | November 23, 2010

A much-anticipated new after-school class for Muskegon Heights Middle School students took flight on Monday.

The aviation basics class, led by Patrick Johnson of Grand Rapids, will teach navigation, meteorology and the basics of flight.  The class meets twice weekly after school, and the school plans to continue those class meetings into the summer after the school year ends.

Muskegon Heights Middle School principal Bernard Colton spoke during this week’s school board meeting about the class.  The program was originally designed to have 30 students, but for its first year the class was scaled back to 15 students.  Because the seats are so precious, Colton expressed the need for students to be highly motivated and focused on the work given to them.

“You have to show up, you have to be interested, and you’ve got to want it.”

Colton cited overall first-year interest at 35 students, and if all goes as planned the class will be expanded in future years.  He stated that for the program to thrive it needed to start with younger students, but as those students grow it will be opened up to high school students.

The after-school program also hopes to eventually get connected with the West Michigan Flight Academy, located in Grand Rapids.

During Monday’s discussion, Muskegon Heights Public Schools superintendent Dr. Dana Bryant also noted that plans for an entrepreneurial club are in the works, to be taught by business leaders from West Michigan.

The high interest in the flight class is a trend for other after-school programs the school hopes to offer in the coming months, according to Colton.  Reaction to a possible ski trip to Cannonsburg in January has been spirited.  The school’s new physical education teacher is working on reducing the cost for students, and the school hopes to take 30 to 50 kids.  Registration for the trip is not open yet, but further announcements will be coming soon if costs can be reduced.

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