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Hollywood Burbank Airport’s second student academy takes off

High School students from the Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena Unified School Districts gather for the
High School students from the Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena Unified school districts gather for the second annual Airport Academy program at the Hollywood Burbank Airport.
(James Carbone / Burbank Leader)

Hollywood Burbank Airport gave another set of high school students the tools and insights this week into what it takes to pursue a career in the aviation industry.

On Wednesday, airport officials held their second annual Airport Academy program, in which 24 high school students — eight each from the Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena Unified school districts — got to meet professionals from various areas of the aviation industry to help them figure out what career path they might want to investigate in the future.

The first class held that morning involved the students hearing from airport spokeswoman Lucy Burghdorf, who gave an overview about the airport’s history and what the program will entail.

The academy is a five-day program that spans the next five months, with one class held each month. Some of the topics covered are airport operations, the roles of the Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Security Administration as well as various aspects of the airline industry.


Terry Wook, a junior at Crescenta Valley High School who is enrolled in the Air Force Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at his school, said he was excited to be a part of this year’s program.

“People tell me different things about being a pilot, but I actually want to know what it’s like to be one,” Wook said. “I’m also trying to choose between computer science or aviation as a major, so being in the program will help me learn more about this field.”

Dylan Beverly, a sophomore at John Burroughs High School, said he has become more and more interested in aviation over the recent years and signed up for the program to get a better sense of what a career in aviation would be like.


“I hope to gain more information about what it means to be working at an airport or to be a pilot,” Beverly said. “I do want to pursue a career in aviation, and I don’t want to go in blind.”

This year’s Airport Academy was set up differently than last year’s inaugural program, in which 25 students from Burbank Unified signed up.

Upon hearing about the success of last year’s academy, airport commissioners from Glendale and Pasadena asked Burghdorf to expand the program to include students from their respective cities.

“There was a waiting list of students from both Glendale and Pasadena school districts, so that told us there was definitely interest in this program,” Burghdorf said.

She added that she’s looking forward to working with this batch of students, who she said seemed focused on learning about aviation and how an airport works.

“After spending the last three hours with these students, I could tell that they’re interested and want to learn about the airport,” Burghdorf said. “I think it’s going to be a great learning experience for them and a real eye-opener.”

Twitter: @acocarpio