Jackson Municipal Airport Authority, Jackson Public Schools and Jackson State University Celebrate a Successful Third Annual Education and Training Academy

By LSherie Dean, Director of Communications, Marketing & PR
Jackson Municipal Airport Authority

JET-A Closing Ceremony

The Jackson Municipal Airport Authority (JMAA) partnered with Jackson Public Schools (JPS) and Jackson State University (JSU) for the third annual JMAA Education and Training Academy, known as JET-A, “Fueling the Future of Aviation; Get Set to Jet!” The week-long academy’s objective is to introduce high school students to career opportunities in aviation and aerospace. This year, it began June 13 at Hawkins Field Airport (HKS) in Jackson, MS, with visits and activities held at JSU, the Civil Air Patrol and HKS. The curriculum included in-flight training sessions, flight simulators, advanced drone obstacle courses, navigating and mapping, various educational tours and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) principles and concepts.

A deeply collaborative effort with external partners, including nonprofit organizations and other public and private entities, JET-A provided students with extensive learning opportunities. To wrap up the week, the academy concluded with its closing ceremony at Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport to honor 22 students for successfully completing the rigorous JET-A “U 2 Can Fly” week of training and activities.

“JET-A is a monumental opportunity for Jackson’s youth,” stated John Means, JMAA COO/Acting CEO. “We are grateful to be able to continue this partnership with JSU and JPS in order to introduce and engage students with potential career opportunities in aviation and aerospace.”

This year’s guest speaker at the ceremony was Craig Irving, Corporate Sales Manager for the Eastern Division based in Washington, DC, for American Airlines. His message to the students stressed the importance of staying true to who they want to be and expanding their horizons to learn and push themselves to excellence.

“Aviation connects you to different cultures, different ways of thinking,” stated Irving. “That’s how you grow, and always remember that the world is much bigger than you can imagine. Decide who you want to be in life early.”

Murrah High School 2022 graduate Ravion Lightfoot is the perfect example of the type of future leaders this program is targeting. Lightfoot shared his accomplishments following his two years of participation in the JET-A program. He has been accepted into the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Military Academy West Point. Lightfoot announced that he will be attending the Air Force Academy this fall.

The JMAA is grateful for the support of its external partners – 172d Airlift Wing, American Airlines, Civil Air Patrol, HKS Medevac Crew, Legacy Aviation, Pafford Air One, PHI Air Medical and the JMAA staff. JMAA is also thanks its sponsors – Atmos Energy, Airways Consulting, LLC, Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership and HOPE, LLC – for making this event a success.