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NISD Educ Foundation fuels limitless opportunities

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    Navasota ISD Education Foundation hosted their annual fundraiser dinner Tuesday, Nov. 16, at the Grimes County Expo Center. The Foundation has distributed over $1 million to teacher and campus-wide grant funds. Examiner photos by Celeste Anguiano and Ashe

Never has the Navasota ISD star shone as bright as it did Tuesday, Nov. 16, at the NISD Education Foundation Dinner fundraiser! From the extraordinary financial efforts of NISD Education Foundation to the enthusiasm of Superintendent Dr. Stu Musick to the sage advice of guest speaker Capt. J.W. Bean USN (retired), the event presented a blueprint for limitless opportunities for Navasota ISD students.

Navasota ISD Education Foundation board members have worked tirelessly since 2003 to fund programs and activities which “promote innovative methods of teaching and enhance the overall education experience” for the students of Navasota ISD. In her comments, board president Marilyn Bettes announced that since 2003 the Navasota ISD Education Foundation has distributed $1,007,109.97 in teacher and campus wide competitive grant funds.

One person who played a big role in the Foundation’s accomplishments was former Navasota teacher, foundation board member and 2006 Citizen of the Year, Sue “Cissy” Smith. Smith died Jan. 2, 2021, and Tuesday’s event was dedicated to her memory.

NISD – “Something for everyone!”

Musick kicked off the program saying, “Navasota ISD has big school opportunities but it’s in a small town atmosphere. From birth to graduation, we’ve got something for everyone!”

Musick explained the Lil’ Rattler Academy, a day care center for the children of NISD teachers and students, birth to 3 years of age and then provided a slideshow featuring NISD’s new and improved facilities, thanks to the voter-approved $55 million school bond.

While the district’s arts and science programs and facilities benefited from the bond, of particular interest were many new programs available in Career and Technical Education such as in Veterinary Medicine where students can learn and residents can get their dogs groomed, or Cosmetology where adults can get salon services from students in training. Another innovative move slated for 2022 is the addition of a law enforcement training course.

Musick touted the district’s Collegiate School status and other opportunities not normally found in a district the size of NISD such as the Tango Flight Program. In this program, over the course of two years, engineering students will build and fly an airplane. NISD will be the fourth school district in Texas and No. 13 in the nation to offer Tango Flight, a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) endorsement.

The sky’s the limit

Tango Flight was the appropriate segue to Bean who talked about benefits and opportunities associated with a career in aviation on both the pilot side and the support side.

According to Bean, there was a shortage of 35,000 pilots before Covid-19, and with growth and retirement the number is expected to increase to a worldwide shortage of 200,000 over the next 10-20 years - leading to great opportunities for young men or women who want to be pilots.

Career opportunities other than the military include flying commercial airlines, charter planes, corporate aviation, cargo haulers, tours, medivacs, for law enforcement and in agriculture. Other options include helicopters and drones.

On the wage side, Bean said new graduates with 1,500 flying hours can earn $50-60 per hour.

The support side includes airplane mechanics, of which Boeing projects a shortage of 192,000 over the next 15-20 years. Educates, trained airplane mechanics can expect to earn $77,000-$99,000 per year.

Bean said, “In the 50 years I’ve been involved in aviation, I’ve never seen mechanics laid off. Pilots? Yes. It used to be common for pilots to get laid off but not mechanics because those airplanes have to be maintained whether they’re flying or not. There is always a job for those folks.”

Other support opportunities can be found in the Federal Aviation Administration, as staff at airports of all sizes, as aeronautical medical examiners, aviation lawyers, flight and classroom instructors or building and designing airplanes parts and pieces.

Referring to the Tango Flight Program, Bean said, “In aviation there is no room for error. Things get broken, people get hurt. What they’re going to learn that’s just as important about these systems is how to maintain them correctly the first time. They’re going to learn to make decisions based on facts, not fantasy, They’re going to be responsible for something. They’re going to learn something and it will be with them forever.”