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You can make a difference in the 2020 You Can Fly ChallengeYou can make a difference in the 2020 You Can Fly Challenge

Donations to match challenge needed by August 31Donations to match challenge needed by August 31

You have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of thousands of high school students across the country and to help ensure the future of general aviation by donating to the AOPA Foundation for the 2020 You Can Fly Challenge before August 31.

Students at Greenville Technical Charter High School, a South Carolina high school utilizing the AOPA High School STEM curriculum, learn aviation concepts during a hands-on exercise. Photo by David Tulis.

Donations to the AOPA Foundation for the 2020 You Can Fly Challenge through August 31 will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $2.5 million by the Ray Foundation. The Ray Foundation carries on the legacy of the late James C. Ray, who “believed that life skills are learned through aviation” and supported AOPA’s You Can Fly program.

One of the hallmarks of the You Can Fly program is its high school STEM initiative, which helps students discover careers in aviation and aerospace while preparing them for advanced studies through aviation-based science, technology, engineering, and math lessons. Because of generous donations to the AOPA Foundation, the curriculum is offered free of charge, opening it to schools nationwide, including rural and inner-city schools that lack funding.

The ninth- and tenth-grade curriculums are already in use by many schools, and the eleventh-grade curriculum will be released for the 2020-2021 school year. The twelfth-grade curriculum will be field tested during the 2020-2021 school year and released the following year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has not slowed participation in the curriculum. AOPA’s You Can Fly team has adapted the curriculum so courses can also be taught online effectively. This will allow teachers who will be conducting classes virtually because of the pandemic this fall to still use the course material to instruct.

As of the end of July, 226 teachers had completed You Can Fly's summer online teacher workshops in preparation for teaching the curriculum in the 2020-2021 school year. The You Can Fly STEM curriculum is currently in 417 schools and 450 classrooms, and about 8,300 students have been confirmed in the classes.

The curriculum is also reaching a more diverse student base, with about 25 percent of enrolled students being female and 51 percent minorities.

“Your donation will go directly to the AOPA You Can Fly program to build a stronger pilot community,” said Melissa Rudinger, AOPA Foundation executive director. “The You Can Fly program is funded by donations, and every dollar counts.”

In addition to introducing young people to aviation and equipping them with the educational background needed to succeed in advanced aviation studies and careers in aviation or aerospace, your donation will also help strengthen the pilot community through the You Can Fly program’s other initiatives—Flight Training, Flying Clubs, and Rusty Pilots.

“Every gift is a vote of confidence, not only in the AOPA Foundation and You Can Fly program, but in the high school students you will be impacting,” Rudinger said. “We are counting on you to step up and make a difference in this final stretch of the 2020 You Can Fly Challenge.”

Tax-deductible donations should be made by August 31 to count toward the match. Meeting the $2.5 million match would make available $5 million in funding for the You Can Fly program.

Alyssa J. Miller

Alyssa J. Cobb

AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor
AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Cobb has worked at AOPA since 2004 and is an active flight instructor.
Topics: AOPA Foundation, You Can Fly, Giving

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