Local high school students are getting hands-on experience, allowing their careers to "take off" before graduation. NY1's Clodagh McGowan filed the following report.
For these students at Aviation High School, Thursday was anything but a typical school day. LaGuardia Airport served as their classroom, as they got a behind the scenes tour of the Delta terminal and air traffic control tower.
"I found it very interesting to go into the tower of LaGuardia Airport, not many people get to experience that," said Barry Wu, a fifth-year student at Aviation High School.
Aviation High School allows students to get a head start on their careers by giving them hands-on training. The students will graduate as aviation maintenance professionals, bypassing the traditional college route and avoiding a hefty price tag for tuition.
"There's people who got to college to get their A & P to get there and they spend like $50,000 and we basically get it for free. So, that's amazing, that's like a $50,000 investment right there," said Kevin Chaverra, also a fifth-year student at Aviation High School.
Many of the students are already interning with Delta, going to their normal classes in the morning and then reporting to LaGuardia or Kennedy airports in the afternoon
"I shadow a mechanic, by that we're another eye or hand for that mechanic," said Wu.
"We make sure every aircraft is air-worthy," said Chaverra.
Graduates say they got jobs right out of high school and feel on par with co-workers who have four year degrees.
"Pretty much you get a head start in life. That's all it is; you start off and you come out the gun knowing what you want to do," said Dexter Stewart, who now works as a lead aircraft technician with Delta.
For the students, getting a job at a major airport in their hometown is always the goal.
"That's my number one objective, 'cause you know I'm very family oriented, so I would want to stay in New York," said Chaverra.