Four students awarded pilot license scholarships


Lt. Col. Chris McMartin, TWHS AFJROTC staff

The four winners (l to r) are Paul Zeyer, Bryce Walles, Alex Marin and Javier Del Corral.

Emma Cavin, Writer

For the first time, four students from The Woodlands High School received Air Force Junior ROTC Flight Academy scholarships for the summer of 2023.

Those accepted were senior cadets Javier del Corral and Paul Zeyer, and junior cadets Alex Marin and Bryce Walles. They are among 200 Air Force Junior ROTC cadets around the world to receive the scholarship from Headquarters Air Force Junior ROTC, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, AL. The scholarship covers transportation, room and board, academics and flight hours required to potentially earn a Private Pilot Certificate. Each scholarship is valued at approximately $22,500.  

The Air Force Junior ROTC Flight Academy Scholarship Program is an Air Force-level initiative in collaboration with the commercial aviation industry to address the national civilian and military pilot shortage. The Flight Academy allows aspiring young aviators to get their Private Pilot’s Certification, at no cost, during an eight-week summer course at partner universities. Those who participate in the program will earn a college transcript but do not incur a military commitment to the Air Force or other branch of service, nor does completing the program guarantee acceptance into one of the military’s commissioning programs.

All the students are excited to be chosen.

“I applied because it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I hope to get a pilot slot in the Air Force,” Zeyer said.

Zeyer wasn’t alone in his interest in becoming a pilot.

“I’ve always wanted to be a pilot since I was a little kid and can’t wait to achieve this goal,” Walles said.  Walles hopes to join the Air Force as well.

The students express a preference on the universities, and are matched with schools based on a number of factors.  Walles selected five schools, and will learn his destination by March.

Lt. Col McMartin was happy for those chosen.

“They didn’t just get it, they earned it,” McMartin said.

More than 1,300 cadets applied for one of the 200 scholarships. There are almost 120,000 high school students enrolled in Air Force Junior ROTC programs at approximately 870 high schools in the U.S. and overseas.