Local 12 year old Pace resident,  Nicholas Hanssen, was awarded a $1250 scholarship to attend the National Flight Academy (NFA) week long aviation summer camp at NAS Pensacola.  Hanssen, a recent sixth grade graduate, competed against students as old as 17 years old entering to win a scholarship offered by the academy.  Students were challenged with writing four 300 word minimum essays having to do with categories such as how they would share what they would learn within their community; Exploration; NFA Ambition and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math; and Leadership.  In addition, students had to submit two letters of recommendation from teacher, community leaders, etc.  He will be attending the week long overnight camp July 21st thru 26th.  The camp will come to a close with a graduation at 10:00 am on Friday the 26th.  The camp allows promising future aviators the opportunity to live aboard the virtual Ambition as Aviation Experimental Pilots within a completely immersive experience. 

Who says learning can’t be fun? Certainly not the leadership team at Ambition who delivers “inspired play” in Pensacola, Florida. It all starts with the story— a heart-pumping, adrenaline-filled mission with squadrons competing to successfully finish a task. Whether it is a race or rescue, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills are used in tandem with the equally important 21st Century learning skills including critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork and communication to advance the team.

Ambition is next-generation innovative play. From the theme park-like sight and sound to premier technology available for students— the experience is unparalleled. Individuals and groups are both welcomed, providing the opportunity for an exceptional team-building adventure.

“We are so very proud of Nicholas’ accomplishment.  It took him 15 hours of research and writing to complete the task.  At one point we took a break and visited the Naval Museum to keep him motivated, inspired  and on task.  This was a HUGE undertaking for a kid his age, but definitely worth all his effort”, stated Mrs. Hanssen (Nicholas’ mom).  As long as they could remember, Nicholas’ parents said that he has dreamed of becoming a pilot in the military.  Apparently, he got some of the genes from his family members David Hanssen (dad) who served as a U.S. Marine and grandfather Paul Wikander who was a pilot that owned and operated a commuter / charter service in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands for over thirty years, after getting his start in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Nicholas referred to community in his leadership essay like “the chain reaction of a domino effect…I think I am like a domino when it comes to helping my community….It only takes one person to start to make a difference in life”.  Nicholas proved his point from his essay that “even though I am little or younger compared to the other kids that I competed against, I can accomplish BIG things!”

Students that may be interested in competing for scholarships may visit the website at www.nationalflightacademy.com for more information on the Ambition Boost Program.