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LAKELAND, Fla. — For more than a month now, Southeastern University (SEU) has been hosting a group of 16 cadets on its Lakeland campus as a part of the U.S. Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) Flight Academy Program. As one of only 24 institutions across the nation awarded a contract with the AFJROTC Flight Academy, SEU is in its third year of hosting the eight-week program. 

The cadets originate from overseas and all across the country, including Puerto Rico and the states of Texas, Colorado, Missouri, Alaska, Illinois, Arkasas, Oklahoma, Arizona and Florida.

Of the participating cadets, 13 are juniors and seniors in high school, two come from the Air Force Academy in El Paso County, Colo., and one is from the ROTC program at Baylor University. 

SEU will also be hosting a graduation ceremony for the participants who have successfully completed the Flight Academy program. The ceremony will be held on Friday, July 15, at 10 a.m. in the King Sky Hangar at the Lakeland Linder International Airport.

As a part of completing the program, the cadets will be receiving their private pilot’s license. A Private Pilot’s Certification allows an individual to fly a private aircraft anywhere as long as they are in compliance with the airspace regulations set by the country of destination. 

The AFJROTC Flight Academy program provides scholarships for students to participate in its eight-week summer aviation training course. The program was created in efforts to combat the current national pilot shortage in the U.S., as well as to encourage diversity within the aviation industry. This year, a total of 1,300 students applied for the 200 scholarships available.

If you are interested in interviewing the cadets or covering this story, please reach out to Skylar Worthington at 863.667.5360 or email seworthington@seu.edu.

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