By Jasmine Franklin
The nerves and knowledge of more than 300 air cadets filled Ponoka Composite High School Feb. 20 during a day of interviews for cadets competing for summer scholarships.
“There is a lot of tension and excitement,” said Pam Mattock, air cadet officer. “You have 311 air cadets applying for limited spots – it’s a tough environment.”
About 500 people including family members, air cadets and volunteers, made the day a bit easier for cadets focused on landing that summer learning experience.
“These scholarships are incredible opportunities for air cadets,” said Darlene LaRoche, vice-chairman of The Air Cadet League of Canada Alberta provincial committee. “It furthers their leadership skills along with teaches them life skills. They become good leaders and these scholarships stimulate an interest in the aviation industry.”
There are eight different scholarships 128 air cadets will be selected for in Alberta. LaRoche explained there is the international exchange program where six Alberta cadets will be chosen to go to different countries such as the United Stated, United Kingdom, Turkey, or other countries. The power pilot program has room for 21 Alberta cadets who will receive their license to fly airplanes; the program is valued at $10,000.
Other scholarships include, glider pilot programs, senior leader, advanced aircraft operations, advanced aircraft mechanics, athletic instructor and survival instructor.
Cadets are chosen based on several factors including attitude, motivation, knowledge and interest in air cadet activities and subject matter, education in school (worth 20 per cent of the cadets final evaluation), general knowledge, dress and deportment and self expression.
Cadets are then given a score out of 100.
Third-year air cadet Annette Kerpel, 17, from the Strathmore squadron, was interviewed for the intent of receiving her pilot license. This was her first time being interviewed for the summer scholarship and she felt rather comfortable with her experience.
“I did a lot of studying and practice,” Kerpel said smiling. “I’d like to receive my pilot license to be able to teach others in my squadron and also because it is really important. In the future I’d like to join STARS and a pilot license is one step closer to that goal.”
Cadets will find out in mid to late April whether they have received a position for their paid summer scholarships programs.
“We ensure we have the top cadets,” LaRoche said.
For the past eight or nine years the selection boards for Alberta cadets has been held at PCHS, however, next year may be different.
“This school has done so much for us and been very accommodating,” LaRoche said. “But with the renovations next year I don’t think we will be able to host the interviews here.”
LaRoche said the interviews may be held in Red Deer for 2011.
For more information on air cadets visit www.aircadetleague.ab.ca