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    Comprehensive Airman Fitness: New school paves runway for educational excellence

    Comprehensive Airman Fitness: New school paves runway for educational excellence

    Photo By Tech. Sgt. Jim Araos | Jody Urquhart (third from left), Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce representative;...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Air Mobility Command

    By Airman 1st Class Regina Agoha
    19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

    LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE Ark. -- An excited crowd of distinguished guests, proud parents, faculty and staff all stood outside to celebrate the Aug. 15 ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School Flightline Upper Academy, the base's new middle school.

    Only a dream of local community leaders a little more than a year ago, the on-base charter school has become a reality for area middles school students in grades 5 - 8. Flightline Academy has an authorized enrollment of 175 and is open to both military and non-military children.

    The community-led initiative turned the base's old conference center into a state-of-the-art learning center. Construction of the nearly $1 million renovation project was made possible by donations of $600,000 from the Hunt-Pinnacle Group which is responsible for 1,000 homes on the base, $250,000 from the Walton Foundation and $200,000 from the Wilson Family Foundation, long-time supporters of Little Rock AFB.

    Col. Mike Minihan, 19th Airlift Wing commander, thanked the school staff and the community leaders who were a part of bringing it to the base on behalf and seventh grade son, who is attending the school.

    "We are proud of the community teamwork that has brought Flightline Academy to our base and Jacksonville families. It's a true testament to the dedication of our award-winning community partners and their passion to increase educational opportunities for both military children and children from our local community," said Col. Mike Minihan, 19th Airlift Wing commander.

    "Our goal is to be an educational center of excellence in Arkansas, and Flightline Academy another positive step in achieving that goal. We're excited for our children and what this new school means to our base and local community. It's another great example of the unmatched community support we receive and I couldn't be more proud of everyone who helped pave the way for this new school," Colonel Minihan said.

    Charter schools are publicly funded schools that operate outside of the control of a local school district but are still held to the state's academic standards by the state's board of education.

    "The mission of the school is to prepare our students for college through a rigorous arts-infused program," said Dr. Phillis Nichols-Anderson, vice president, southern region. "Our goal is for every child to be prepared, not only admitted to college but to graduate from it," she said.

    Anderson said she thinks it's great that military and civilian children have an opportunity to learn together side by side in this environment.

    Jacksonville Major Gary Fletcher said the name "Flightline" is very fitting for the school. "We prepare the runway for you to take off in your lives," the mayor said. He also encouraged the children to keep dreaming their dreams, because they can do anything they want to do.

    For more information on Lighthouse Academies charter schools, visit



    Date Taken: 08.17.2011
    Date Posted: 08.17.2011 12:00
    Story ID: 75499

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