PVNC Catholic’s Aviation and Aerospace Specialist High Skills Major Program taking off

Students interested in aviation now benefit from programming at all PVNC Catholic secondary schools 

Students from every PVNC Catholic secondary school can now choose to specialize in aviation in Grade 11 and 12. 

The foundation of the program is a Seneca College aeronautics course, which takes place online once per week after school led by a Seneca instructor who also is a commercial pilot. These after-school sessions are augmented by question and answer sessions with professionals from the aviation industry. 

During the 2022-2023 school year, students taking the Aerospace Specialist High Skills Major Program (SHSM) benefited from rich conversations with aviation professionals such as Air Canada pilots, aviation systems engineers, an industrial drone operator and instructor, a modern aircraft inventor, a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Hercules pilot, RCAF avionic mechanics, and a retired fighter jet pilot. 

The program includes two field trips that take place at the Peterborough Airport and at Canadian Forces Base Trenton. These days are filled with hands-on flight simulator experiences and learning from various aviation personnel. The climax of each field trip is a flight. At the Peterborough Airport students finish the day with an introductory flight in a Cessna 4 seater plane. The trip to CFB Trenton last May included the amazing experience of flying as a group in a Hercules. 

“I witnessed students absolutely engaged in their learning, having focused discussions with industry professionals, and tangibly experiencing both the thrill and responsibility of operating an aircraft,” PVNC Catholic SHSM lead Alex Duketow said. “I am very happy that the aviation focused students across our school board have this opportunity and will take next steps toward the industry with a greater sense of direction.”

Alex Duketow

The comments below capture the aviation program from the students’ experience: 

Roan Sumilang, a Grade 12 student at Holy Cross, said the experience meeting those in the aeronautics profession has positively informed some of the paths he may choose to take after high school.

“After meeting so many different commercial and Air Force pilots through this opportunity, I was inspired and amazed by the different journey each had toward fulfilling their childhood dreams,” he said. “The industry encounters with aeronautics engineers really helped me see how my own path might look toward becoming an engineer.”

Grade 12 St. Peter Catholic Secondary student Sidra Abdullah said she was inspired by her contact with female pilots. 

“Meeting the Air Canada female pilots and seeing pictures of the day and night sky that they view all the time really motivates me to want to consider becoming a pilot myself,” she said.

Caitlin Chan Reynolds, a Grade 12 St. Peter CSS student, said having the opportunity to meet an aircraft inventor was among the highlights of her experience. 

“His journey has motivated me to pursue my passions relentlessly and embrace challenges with a resilient mindset. I am now more motivated than ever to explore the field of aerospace engineering and contribute to the advancement of aviation technology,” she said.

Secondary school students who are interested in participating in the Aviation Specialist High Skills Major Program can complete this form.