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Careers over Coffee –The Sky’s the Limit

Panel talking to students Panel talking with students

PARK CITY, Ut. – The Park City High School Career and Technical Education (CTE) department hosted a panel of career aviators for nearly 100 students during a Careers over Coffee chat on January 27th with coffee and pastries provided by our community partner, Daily Rise Coffee. 


The panel consisted of four members with various backgrounds in aviation, including commercial airlines, military, and drones. One panelist, Zoe Smith, PCHS alumni class of 2015, talked about the benefits of pursuing a career in aviation. 


“This is the best job in the world, and when I am not working, I am kind of sad,” said Smith. “I think it is also really fun traveling and seeing new cities all the time.” 


The Aviation CTE Pathway began this year and currently has 161 students enrolled in either Private Pilot and/or Drone Aviation classes.  


Park City High School's first-generation student, Yazlaii Quintana, is interested in becoming a commercial pilot and mentioned having the aviation pathway in high school has been a great building block to get her where she wants to go.   


“Before taking Mr. Marshall’s class, I didn’t know you had to take a test before receiving your private pilot license,” said Quintana. “Having Mr. Marshall as our teacher and knowing that he’s a pilot is just comforting, as well as knowing that you have someone there.” 


Park City High School teacher, Trip Marshall, has been a licensed pilot for over 20 years. He became a flight instructor in 2005 and worked in the aviation career field until 2016, when he transitioned focus and became a teacher in Park City.  


“My love for aviation started as a toddler,” said Marshall. “My father ran a small airport in North Carolina, and I spent most of my early days hanging around the maintenance hangar.”


According to Marshall, teaching aviation brings much joy to his day but also comes with limitations. The challenge he faces is replicating the look, feel, sounds, smells, and overall sensation that comes with flying and interacting with the aviation community. Fortunately, with the generous support of the Park City Education Foundation, Park City High School was able to purchase three flight simulators and several different types of drones for the new CTE pathway.    


“We are very fortunate to have simulators in our classroom as teaching aids, thanks to the generous support of the Park City Education Foundation,” said Marshall. “This really helps bridge the gap between the theoretical and real world.”


Park City High School plans on expanding the Aviation pathway next year by adding two new courses, Drone Lab: Design, Build and Maintain, and Flight Simulator.


“Having classes such as these in public high school provided exposure and access to students of many backgrounds, who may not have been otherwise aware of the opportunities,” said Marshall. “So far, it has been quite popular.”