A Girl's Life at Aviation High School

A Girl's Life at Aviation High School

She took the internship with the idea that understanding how the tower communicates with pilots would also ultimately help strengthen her piloting skills, but an ancillary benefit is the view—of takeoffs, landings, and the Manhattan skyline. "You can see everything up there," she said. The tower even provides an aerial view of runway 13-L.

Since students at the annex cannot participate in extracurricular activities on the main Aviation campus, Ham has had to give up ROTC. With the added free time, she's decided to pursue a pilot's license. Last month, she completed a solo flight from Republic Airport on Long Island to Groton Airport in Connecticut with a stop in Poughkeepsie along the way.

On St. Patrick's Day, the air traffic controllers celebrated with the girl they call "Star" after her father called to tell her she'd received a thick envelope from the Air Force Academy. When Huan Ham tells people the news, he speaks with awe about the dollar value of the scholarship—$387,000. "More than a Hummer!" he says.

Aviation "super senior" Carla Rodriguez shows off her handiwork.
Tina Zimmer
Aviation "super senior" Carla Rodriguez shows off her handiwork.
Melody Monroy joins Rodriguez in the cockpit of Aviation High School's donated Boeing 727.
Tina Zimmer
Melody Monroy joins Rodriguez in the cockpit of Aviation High School's donated Boeing 727.

"She made it," he says. "That little thing did it."

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