RALEIGH, N.C. – Student Targeted for Achievement through Redirection (STAR) Academy, a Harnett County alternative school for at-risk youth, toured the North Carolina National Guard’s flight facility in Morrisville, N.C., earlier this month.<br /> <br /> Army Maj. Fredrick Keller, an NCNG supervisory instructor pilot, taught the students about the NCNG’s Army Aviation aircraft, the AH-64D Longbow Apache Helicopter, the UH-72 Lakota Light Utility Helicopter and C-26 Twin Turboprop fixed wing aircraft. <br /> <br /> The STAR Academy is a program to keep at-risk students from dropping out of school and help those that are behind in class work catch up. <br /> <br /> This youth program gives teens insight on the military as a career, with 20 students enlisting in the past five years.<br /> <br /> The academy also provides additional opportunities designed specifically to assist high-risk students in developing the skills necessary for academic and social success.<br /> <br /> Keller guided the students along the hangar floor among several Apache Helicopters there for maintenance. Keller gave a hands-on tour highlighting the Apache’s capabilities and pointed out the complex weapons systems, engine and avionics. <br /> <br /> “This is so cool, really thinking about joining the military now,” said Ruby Arraga, a STAR student during the flight facility tour. <br /> <br /> Students made the most of the opportunity by sitting in the Apache cockpit and posing for photos on the multimillion-dollar aircraft. They also commented on how the experience made them consider serving in the military as an option.<br /> <br /> “They really enjoyed the follow up with the experts on how much it takes to get into the military,” replied T.J. Carver, counselor at STAR academy. <br /> <br /> Keller explained to the students about an aviator’s career, including flight school, evaluation boards and the rigorous training pilots have to endure. <br /> <br /> These tours are part of an ongoing community outreach at the facility. Ten instructors serve as “tour guides” to give presentations year-round to various youths ranging from 15-20 years of age. Recent tours include Cub/Boy Scouts, Turbomeca Aerospace, Leesville High School Aviation Program, and the USA baseball team.