2015-12-09 / Features

American Airlines, PENCIL Bring Students To JFK


American Airlines Captain, Andrew Simonds gives two students a rare glimpse at the cockpit of a B777-300. “Meeting these kids was a blast but the best part was showing them that being a pilot is within their reach,” he said. Simonds is a Chief Pilot based out of JFK. American Airlines Captain, Andrew Simonds gives two students a rare glimpse at the cockpit of a B777-300. “Meeting these kids was a blast but the best part was showing them that being a pilot is within their reach,” he said. Simonds is a Chief Pilot based out of JFK. American Airlines and PENCIL brought education out of the classroom and into the workplace December 3 with the culmination of a semester-long partnership program that brought 65 Astoria sixth graders to John F. Kennedy International Airport for an exclusive tour of the facility and an opportunity to gain hands-on career experience at an early age.

“We are proud to partner with IS 141 and PENCIL,” said David Lombard, American Airlines Manager of Alliances at JFK. “Helping the children learn about the avia- tion industry and how it can be a truly rewarding profession is what brings me back year after year. Hopefully the students’ experience in this program will encourage them to continue exploring their field of study until they finish school, which ultimately will better prepare them to enter the workplace when they’re ready.”


Bill Leonard, American Airlines Tower Manager, does a Q&A with sixth graders from IS 141 about the Operations Tower at JFK. Bill Leonard, American Airlines Tower Manager, does a Q&A with sixth graders from IS 141 about the Operations Tower at JFK. Since October, employees from American’s JFK management team have made several visits to IS 141 Steinway School in Astoria to deliver a series of lectures and information sessions to educate students about various career paths in commercial aviation. Thursday’s JFK field trip was designed to help them make a deeper connection with how those lessons translate in the workplace.

“PENCIL’s work with American Airlines gives New York City students the chance to experience real-life work environments at an early age,” said David Weiner, President of PENCIL. “It is critical for businesses and schools to continue to work together to make sure our students are on the path to success, now and in the future.”


Sixth graders from Astoria’s IS 141 take a picture in front of the Christmas Tree in Terminal 8 at JFK. Sixth graders from Astoria’s IS 141 take a picture in front of the Christmas Tree in Terminal 8 at JFK. For the last six years American has partnered with PENCIL, a not-for-profit organization that connects businesses with New York City’s public schools to create innovative programs that help prepare students for college and their future careers. The completion of the fall program marks IS 141 Steinway School’s third year participating.

Topics covered in classroom sessions included Intro to Airplanes and Airlines, Customer Care and Premium Services, Technical Operations, Taking Flight – Flight and Flight Services, and Tower Operations. While at JFK students were given exclusive tours of facilities with direct connections, including ATO and Flagship First, B777-300, Tower, Admirals Club and Hangar 10.

American Airlines’ Giving program aims to make philanthropic endeavors to benefit children, education, human services and military/veteran initiatives.

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