We are extremely proud of 15-year-old pilot Zaire Horton, a student in our College Preparation & Placement Program. Zaire flew his first solo flight under the instruction of the Aviation Program at Dunbar Vocational Career Academy. Currently a sophomore, he will obtain his glider pilots license when he turns 16, his private pilot license by 17, and his aero mechanics license before he graduates from high school. In addition to his diploma, Zaire will receive an Associates of Arts and have enough flying hours to take the test to become a commercial pilot upon graduating high school. The licenses he receives will be the equivalent of college credits, giving him a substantial lead toward obtaining a post-secondary education.
Click Here to watch Zaire take his first solo flight!
Dunbar Vocational Career Academy aims to prepare well-rounded leaders committed to improving their communities and the world, through college and career-focused programs. Its Aviation Program has an onsite flight simulator for the purpose of practicing before training with a flight instructor at various airport fields in the Chicagoland area. It is a 4-year program that runs after school and summer. The program was pioneered and run by Cornelius Coffey in the 1950s, considered by many to be one of the most influential African American aviators of all time. After World War II, he taught aeronautics at the Lewis Holy Name School of Aeronautics in Romeoville, IL and at Chicago’s Dunbar Vocational High School. He was the first African American to create a non-university-affiliated aeronautical school in the United States.
Zaire is also a student of Ada S. McKinley’s acclaimed College Preparation & Placement Program that has placed more than 70,000 youth in more than 400 colleges and universities throughout the United States since the 1950s. The agency has a collaborative relationship with several public elementary and high schools in Chicago through which students are identified and provided with the resources and support required to prepare to obtain a post-secondary education. Services offered include early intervention, virtual college tours, scholarship research, completion and submission; and counseling services to assist students and their families with navigating through the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and understanding the SAR (Student Aid Report).
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