Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NAVAL INVASION AT NEASE 'Service Academy' Planned for School

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NAVAL INVASION AT NEASE 'Service Academy' Planned for School

Article excerpt

If all goes as planned, flight simulators will be found in

classrooms at Nease High School next year.

The high-tech equipment is coming as a result of the school

becoming the first in the state to offer a naval science academy

-- or school-within-a-school -- that offers aviation, maritime

courses and internships at area military bases.

The academy will be an extension of Nease's 5-year-old ROTC

program, which has ranked in the top 10 percent in the nation

for the past two years because of its performance in athletic,

academic and drill competitions.

It will be modeled after an Air Force academy at Rutherford

High School in Panama City. A school official from Nease visited

that school last week.

At Rutherford High, students can take courses required for a

pilot's license while earning community college credits. The

courses -- called ground school -- will be taught at Nease using

computer-operated flight simulators, which look like plane

cockpits. Students will learn about instruments, navigation,

takeoffs, landings and airport rules and signals.

Pete Kreis, a program consultant for the state Department of

Education, said he pushed Nease to start the academy because of

its award-winning ROTC program, new $1.2 million ROTC facility

and track record for operating successful new programs.

"I've always felt Nease was a school where whatever they do,

they do with quality and they do it right," he said.

Start-up money for the new academy will come via a $25,000

grant from the Education Department, and continuing funding will

be provided through per-student allocations from the state, said

Nease Principal Bill Mignon. The money will pay for additional

computers, technology equipment and training for teachers.

Mignon said the Navy will likely provide used flight simulators

for the program.

Ground school must be completed before taking in-the-air flight

lessons with an instructor. Generally, ground school costs $350,

so it's a savings for students wishing to pursue a pilot's

license, said Walter Matthews, a retired lieutenant colonel who

runs Rutherford High's program. …

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