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Students taking flight in Air Force summer program

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R.B. Stall High School students Andrew Whitney and Kaycee Koontz (front), Keivon Holmes and Antonia Kelly-Caswell (back), and Hunter Kirby have been selected for an Air Force flight training summer program. (Photo/provided)

The Air Force and Charleston County School District are partnering on a summer aviation program meant to build character, discipline and get students involved in STEM careers.

Five student-cadets from R.B. Stall High School’s Air Force JROTC program have been selected to participate in the Air Force’s Aviation Character Education program.

Charleston County School District said the goal behind the intensive, three-week character development and flight training program is to instill the positive character traits required for a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which could translate into a career in aviation or the military.

Sophomores Keivon Holmes, Hunter Kirby and Kaycee Koontz and juniors Antonia Kelly-Caswell and Andrew Whitney were selected for the program. Each student will receive training and flight instruction. Organizers said the goal will be for the students to fly solo by the end of the course.

Air Force JROTC Senior Aerospace Instructor Lt. Col. Lonnie Ford said students were inspired to consider a career in aviation by organizations such as the Tuskegee Airmen Inc., Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Young Eagles, Civil Air Patrol and the Lowcountry Aviation Association.

Koontz is training at Charleston Executive Airport on Johns Island, and other students are training in different parts of the country. Kelly is training in Memphis, Tenn., and Holmes and Whitney will be in Tuskegee, Ala., later this month. Kirby will train in San Marcos, Texas, in July.

“I am very grateful the opportunity to fly through the ACE program,” Kirby said in a news release. “It gives me a chance to pursue my dream of a career in aviation.”

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