STAUNTON — Brett Peters hoped the trip would spark some interest in his students. As a career coach at Staunton High School, that’s part of his job, helping students discover areas of interest that, perhaps, can one day provide a living for them.

Plus, as Peters said, “How often do you get to take a school field trip to ride an airplane?”

Peters recently took some of his students to Bridgewater-based Dynamic Aviation to take part in the Nextgen Aviators program. The facility includes a heavy maintenance and modifications center plus a privately owned airport. 

In the 10 years he’s worked at the high school, Peters has done between 40 and 50 field trips, but he said the one to Dynamic Aviation was probably the best. Plus, it’s been the first one he was able to do since the start of the pandemic. 

“It was by far the coolest one I’ve done,” Peters said. “Every station people were paying attention.”

He partnered with the school’s engineering class to take the trip. Students learned about careers, listened to speakers and employees, and, maybe the most exciting part, got a 25-minute airplane ride.

“It was fun,” said Kyra Hitchcock, a Staunton junior. “I liked it.” 

Students took part in a computer-aided design (CAD) demonstration and a flight simulator before taking the flight. The simulator was difficult, with very few of the students completing a successful flight. 

“Mine blew up at the last minute,” said Andrew McFarland, a high school sophomore.

McFarland said he enjoyed the CAD demonstration best. It is a career that he would have never considered before the trip. 

“It just seemed kind of familiar and fun to do,” McFarland said. “It just kind of inspired me.”

Peters said the program showed how a lot of what is taught in school is applicable outside of the classroom. 

It was the first time Staunton senior Peter Dill had ever flown. He’s always been scared of heights, so he wasn’t sure about this experience. Dill doesn’t even like roller coasters, but once he was in the air he found himself enjoying the experience. 

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