Ms. Hannah Rogers, an Alabama Aviation College student in Ozark, Alabama, is the recipient of the first annual Buzz Sawyer Memorial Scholarship. Jed Blackwell, President of the Aviation Council of Alabama Inc., and Jerry Cofield, Director of Albertville Regional Airport, presented the scholarship to Hannah on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, on behalf of the Aviation Council of Alabama.
The Aviation Council of Alabama Inc. is Alabama’s only statewide airport and aviation association which represents International, Air Carrier, General Aviation Airports, and Aviation Businesses, Economic Developers, Pilots, Aircraft Owners and Aviation Associations. The Aviation Council of Alabama is dedicated to continued improvement, development and advancements of airports and aviation throughout the state.
According to Mr. Blackwell, the memorial scholarship was formed to honor Mr. Buzz Sawyer, a longtime aviation enthusiast who helped run aviation throughout Alabama for well over 50 years and dedicated his life to aviation. The scholarship is awarded to high school and college-aged students in the State of Alabama who has plans to develop careers in aviation. The scholarship, valued at $1,500, is expected to be awarded annually to one high school senior or currently enrolled college student who has demonstrated an aptitude for – and has an interest in – pursuing aviation, or who is currently pursuing an aviation-related degree at an accredited college or university. Applicants are asked to submit a brief 250-word essay describing their goals, achievements thus far and need for financial assistance for the selection committee’s review.
“Ms. Rogers was a very worthy candidate based off the recommendations and the letters we received from the staff and friends (at Alabama Aviation College). Her essay provided her overall goals to help aviation in the state of Alabama following her graduation from Alabama Aviation College. We look forward to her graduating and fulfilling her goals in aviation,” Mr. Blackwell said.
Mr. Cofield offered additional support for the scholarship: “The Alabama Aviation Council wants to do everything we can to encourage the young people to step up and take the place of those people who are at retirement age in the aviation industry. Without young people like Ms. Rogers, the aviation industry is going to suffer in about five to ten years because there won’t be anyone to replace the retirees,” he said.
Hannah is a self-described “Daddy’s Girl” from Daleville, Alabama, and a graduate of Daleville High School, class of 2011. Hannah’s fond memories of tinkering around her father’s shop at a young age encouraged her to continue her mechanical work at a motorcycle shop throughout high school. Through the inspiration of her former supervisor and the pride of hearing an engine come back to life, she eventually sought out furthering her education as an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic.
Shortly following high school graduation, Hannah began working as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) to support her son, Trenton, and herself, though she realized how much she truly missed mechanical work. Hannah then transferred to the Aviation Maintenance Technology program at the Alabama Aviation College in January 2017. Hannah’s primary objective was to prove to her son that, through hard work, any goal is achievable.
When asked about future employment, Ms. Rogers stated, “I would love to be employed with Gulfstream in Savannah, Georgia due to their class of work and the state of environment.”
Hannah’s advice for future students would be to “have a good support system and connect with fellow students and staff.”
“The support of everyone at Alabama Aviation College has greatly benefited my determination and education,” she said.
Hannah would like to credit Ms. Valeria Pryor for assistance in applying to the Alabama Aviation College and further assisting in the application process for the Aviation Council of Alabama scholarship.
Alabama Aviation College is a unit of Enterprise State Community College with campuses in Albertville, Andalusia, Mobile and Ozark. Each campus currently fulfills the Alabama Community College System’s mission for education and training which leads to high-wage, high-demand jobs in integral careers worldwide. Students can obtain Associate’s degrees and certificates through multiple programs at the college.