Teens Flying Planes, Not as Scary as You Might Think
Paul Hershorin — with one of his aviation students — heads a career-training program at Boynton Beach High School. [Photo: Michael Price]
Every so often, high school teacher Paul Hershorin takes a student up in his own small plane and in midair hands over the controls.
Terrifying? Not really, Hershorin says — his students prepare well for that first moment of flight, and he hopes it sparks a lifelong passion for aviation.
Hershorin leads a new aviation careers program at Boynton Beach High School, part of Palm Beach County Schools’ career academies program. Affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, it’s the fifth such program in Florida designed to bring college-credit, career-based courses into the high school curriculum. Twenty-five students are enrolled in the Boynton Beach program.
For the business community, eager to see a technically trained workforce, it’s a welcome addition to traditional high school programs. Aviation also offers career opportunities for those who don’t necessarily want a four-year degree, Hershorin says, from piloting planes to fixing them. Students who pass a flight training course in the third year will get a certificate from the FAA for the written portion of the flight test for private pilots. Students can also earn an aircraft maintenance certification.
A retired healthcare entrepreneur and amateur pilot who owns several small planes, Hershorin looks forward to taking the program into its second year and beyond. So far, he says, students seem to feel the passion for flight even when they’re on the ground: “I’m here at 7 a.m., and the kids are waiting for me at the door, wanting to get on the flight simulators.”