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‘H3’ career path

Nebraska school leads students to ‘high-wage, high-demand, high-skill’ careers

Lincoln, Nebraska’s North Star High School introduced AOPA’s You Can Fly aviation STEM curriculum in 2019, and instructor Amanda Woodward has guided the program to new heights.
Photography by David Tulis
Photography by David Tulis

Her enthusiastic approach to teaching the aviation principles laid out in the You Can Fly program has resulted in more than 200 students embracing the program, graduates pursuing aviation careers and higher education in aviation, and a $3.5 million grant to expand the program in a new 13,000-square-foot facility now under construction on site.

Stan Haas, Lincoln Public Schools skilled and technical sciences coordinator, calls the program the “H3 career path.” The elective courses taught at North Star High School will lead students to high-wage, high-demand, high-skill careers, he says.

The Lincoln Public Schools Aviation and Technical Education Focus Program offers three courses in aviation maintenance, flight, and aviation engineering. More than 200 students have participated in the program since the 2019-2020 introduction. LPS officials first considered an aviation focus in 2018, and members of the staff attended the AOPA You Can Fly High School Symposium in 2019. Lincoln North Star High School dedicated a classroom and one instructor, and added the electives in the 2019-2020 school year, but they quickly ran out of space. Duncan Aviation, a major employer in the area, led the expansion initiative with a $3.335 million donation in May 2022. Other contributors include the school, community, and the Boys and Girls Club of Lincoln, as well as Gulfstream, Garmin, Lincoln Community Foundation, and the Walter Scott Foundation.

“With the new building and new facilities, we’re going to be able to get equipment that is going to make the lab opportunities and the hands-on opportunities in this class to be really in line with what is happening in the industry,” Woodward said.

The new facility will have classrooms, a simulator lab, commons, and a hangar.

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The You Can Fly program is funded by charitable donations to the AOPA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization. To be a part of the solution, visit

Julie Walker

Julie Summers Walker

AOPA Senior Features Editor
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.

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