Riverside, CA, April 3, 2008 — After three successful years, the innovative Wathen Aviation High School is ready to expand operations to include additional students in grades 9-12. The WAHS is a free public charter high school on the grounds of historic Flabob Airport, owned by the Thomas W. Wathen Foundation.
“We’ve worked hard to make WAHS an extraordinary aviation experience!” says Dr. Arthur Peterson from the Wathen Foundation. Our kids go to a school located at a very active general aviation airport. We’re very excited to be in a position to accept more students.”
WAHS uses aviation to inspire students to learn about math, science, history, and technology. Courses at the high school teach to state and federal standards, and use aviation as a way to motivate the students to learn.
“For example, when our kids are studying the Cold War, they learn about the incredible technological achievements the United States made in the development of the SR71 and how that airplane played such a critical role in history,” says Major General Pat Halloran, a trustee at the Wathen Foundation. Halloran flew the SR71 Blackbird during his military career and now speaks at the high school to share his firsthand knowledge of the world’s fastest airplane and its surveillance missions over the Soviet Union.
In addition to aviation in the classroom, WAHS kids get a chance to develop hands-on skills through a variety of ongoing projects at the historic Flabob Airport. Students are currently restoring a Stinson 108 to airworthiness and a previous group restored and flew an Aeronca Champ to Oshkosh and back. Kids who participate in the reconstruction efforts earn free afterschool flight lessons.
In another hangar at Flabob, Dr. Jim Spee is directing the construction of a unique educational wind tunnel which will ultimately be shared with the world-renowned Planes of Fame museum in Chino, California. Also available to the kids at the high school is an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics project to build a flying replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer. The aircraft will provide regular exhibitions flights at the historic Flabob Airport.
“We think aviation is a great way to motivate kids to learn,” says Wathen Foundation executive director John Lyon. “Of course, we hope that we can spark a lifelong love of aviation with our high school kids, but no matter what careers they choose, what our students learn about teamwork, integrity and being good community citizens are skills they take with them for the rest of their lives.”
Limited enrollment for the fall 2008 school year at the Wathen Aviation High School is now open on a first come, fist served basis. Parent Teacher Information nights are scheduled for April 16 and April 30 at the high school. For more information or to enroll, contact Kathleen Swift, (951) 222-4466.