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Houston Airports Launch Aviation Club

November 5, 2012

© Houston Airport System
Houston Mayor Annise Parker (holding shirt) and aviation director Mario Diaz (above - far left) joined local High School students in discussing the new Aviation Club.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced a new collaborative effort to broaden the number of young people who reach for the stars in careers in aviation and aerospace with the launch of the Houston Airport System Aviation Club.

“Houston’s legacy as a world leader in aerospace jobs will continue with the development of this exciting and innovative community outreach to the next generation,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “By creating the spark in the minds of young people, we ensure that ‘Space City’ will continue to change the world as an economic driver in the aviation and aerospace industries.”

Founded in fall 2012, the Houston Airport System will sponsor the new Aviation Club at two high school chapters, Sterling High School and Carnegie Vanguard High School.

Houston Airport System director of aviation Mario C. Diaz had a vision to launch the Aviation Club during the school year of 2012 in Houston as a means to plant seeds for future generations to enter aviation and aerospace as a career.

Diaz dreamed of aviation when he was growing up in New York and found early exposure to the industry to become critical for his career path.

“As a teenager, I became fascinated with aviation and I enjoy the journey I experienced as first a pilot and later as an executive for airports in three major U.S. cities,” said Diaz. “My dream is to create a Houston-based initiative geared to launching the passion for flying in the next generation of aviators and space pioneers.”

During the two-hour sessions with the Aviation Club, students are meeting on a monthly basis to participate in learning, enrichment and mentoring activities.

The new program has the following criteria for students:

1. Membership is open to HISD high school students from Sterling High School or Carnegie Vanguard High School campuses in grades 9-12.
2. Students must be in good standing with a minimum GPA of 2.5.
3. Students must maintain satisfactory attendance at meetings throughout the year.
4. Students have a desire and passion for exploring post secondary educational and career opportunities in aerospace or aviation.

“Mario Diaz and the Houston Airport System are serving as catalysts to engage our young men and women in aviation and generate excitement toward math and science,” said Dr. Mark A. Friend, Dean of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University central region-worldwide campus.  “This is exactly what our youth need as they mature and pursue their dreams through higher education.  It is what our nation needs as we strive to remain on the forefront of aviation and aerospace.”

One of the ultimate goals of the new program is to build a new workforce to accept the challenges for tomorrow’s aviation and aerospace jobs. Houston continues to lead the nation in the creation of new jobs during a difficult economy. 

The Aviation Club is expected to be expanded to additional schools in the 2013 school year.

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