Friday, May 30, 2014

An update from Willow, GWW Private Pilot Scholarship Winner!

This is the first journal entry provided to us by Willow Seward, who was selected for a Private Pilot Scholarship from Girls With Wings. The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program includes the Private Pilot Scholarship, to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of a private pilot certificate. This scholarship targets those individuals who have soloed but have not completed the Private Pilot Course.  The Private Pilot Scholarship is in the amount of $1000.00, funded by the generous donations from supporters of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Willow's application essay is published here.

I'm not even sure that the expression, “I'm on Cloud 9” describes how I felt on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. I remember waking up that morning with a stomach full of nerves. It was a big day for me, my final FAA check ride for my private pilot license was scheduled for 9 am and my high school graduation was that night at 7:30 pm. Barely 18, these are huge milestones, and I was flooded with emotion! The dedication, devotion and hard work that I had endured was about to be recognized. 

I remember sitting down in the left seat of the Cessna 172, my heart was racing. The words of the check ride pilot as we began our taxi out put the reality of the situation into perspective, “This is it, are you ready to become a private pilot?” I looked him straight in the eye and confidently announced, “Alright lets do this!” Maneuver after maneuver everything was going smoothly, however, he was a man of few words and even fewer expressions. At this point, I was confident in my ability, but the question was, “Is he?” Finally, what seemed like forever, he spoke. “Willow” he exclaimed and then paused, and paused, and paused....oh my nerves! The anticipation of his next words silenced the airplane, but finally, loud and clear, I heard him proclaim “You are now a private pilot.” My face grew a smile from ear to ear. I couldn't do anything but smile the whole way back to the airport. 
Later that night, as I sat at my graduation and looked around at my fellow classmates, I once again had an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. Our principle spoke many words of wisdom, but one thing he said, drove it all home for me. “Today is only one of the many successes that you are about to experience in life, be proud of yourself, remember this feeling, and experience it again and again.” Twice, in one day, I had experienced success. I must admit, I LIKE IT! 

As much as I like to say “I did it”, the truth is, I did it with a lot of support! I want to give a huge shout-out to UND Aerospace for the excellent training. Words cannot express what a great program they have. I never once fell behind in my flight training thanks to my instructor James Irby for always working out his schedule to accommodate my high school academic and athletic schedules. I would like to thank my mom and dad for all the money and sacrifices they had to make to ensure I was in the air at least three times a week. Lastly, I would like to say Thank You to Girls With Wings for the financial assistance and the support! I am proud to be apart of this organization and I am looking forward to being there for the next girl who wants to take it to the sky! 

Thank You Again, 
Willow Seward 

Essays about flight training from the other awardees will be published here as they are received

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