High school students will learn to fly, courtesy of U.S. Air Force

Clover High School students awarded Air Force scholarships

CLOVER, S.C. — The U.S. Air Force is looking for new, young pilots.

There's a looming shortage of both military and commercial pilots as many reach retirement age.

That's why the Air Force began awarding scholarships to high school students -- to learn to fly and fall in love with aviation.

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JROTC cadets at Clover High School won more of those scholarships this year than any school in the whole country.

Quinn Johnson is aiming high with his sights set on the Air Force.

"My plan is to maybe go to the Air Force Academy or maybe a service academy and then through that, I'll be an officer," Johnson said.

He and 20 other Clover High students are off to a good start. They were each awarded $20,000 scholarships to a flight training academy.

Nearly 900 high schools have the same Air Force JROTC program and only 200 scholarships were given.

"It definitely says that Clover High School is good, especially the instructors," Quinn said.

Master Sgt. Brian Ghent is one of three instructors at the school. He gives all the praise to the hardworking, motivated students.

"It makes me feel very proud. We've got some great cadets and it really shows," Ghent said.

There are 360 students enrolled in JROTC at the high school.

Belle Beaulieu comes from a military family, and said she knew JROTC was what she wanted to do, but the scholarship was a surprise to her.

"It's something I never really thought I was gonna get," she said.

Scholarships are not awarded randomly.

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The flight academy scholarship is merit-based, which focuses on grades, extracurricular activities and a difficult test all applicants must take.

Beaulieu said the program gave her confidence in herself, and now she's got a plan.

"I'm looking into the Air Force Academy, and I really do want to enlist. I really do want to serve," she said.

Last year, 13 students at Clover High School got the Air Force Flight Academy Scholarship and that number was the highest in the nation for one school.

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