High school academic flying high


By Queens Courier Staff |

Imagine graduating from high school and instead of spending the summer folding sweaters at the Gap or super-sizing orders at McDonalds you interned at a famous airport acquiring marketable skills in aviation maintenance.
Helena Hobbs, 17, is an awe-inspiring student at Aviation High School in Long Island City who plans to do just that - interning at the school’s Annex program after she graduates. Partnered with John F. Kennedy’s International Airport, the program provides an opportunity for students to gain valuable aviation experience in a professional environment.
A senior honor student with a 4.0 grade point average, Hobbs is extremely active. She is captain of the track team, vice-president of the student government, and will be this year’s salutatorian at graduation. Hobbs will earn an Airframe and a Powerplant license - qualifying her to repair and maintain both an airplane’s body and engine.
The teachers at Aviation are Hobbs’ biggest fans, describing her as “dedicated,” “highly motivated” and “a leader in the truest sense.”
“Helena has the most indomitable spirit I have ever come across,” says Mr. George Zola, Helena’s Advanced Airframe teacher. “She is never satisfied with just ordinary results.”
Helena’s interest in aviation is no mystery; her father, Lawrence Hobbs is a pilot for Republic Airlines in Farmingdale. He tries to ensure that Helena has many interests and things to challenge her and is currently giving her flying lessons.
Advanced Sheet Metal is Helena’s favorite class. Her love of learning is evident as she recounts building a bulkhead and discusses the differences between fueling a Piper and Cessna airplane. Topics one would not expect to hear discussed in a laughter-filled teenage voice.
Helena has been enrolled in many honors classes throughout her high school career. She has excelled in chemistry and physics and intends to pursue chemical engineering in college.
Interestingly, it is neither the academics nor her jam-packed schedule that Helena finds the most challenging part of school but the requisite social maneuvering.
“Everyone is talking about everyone else,” she says. This group doesn’t like this group or this person. And as she has all types of friends, she is forced to divide herself and time socializing with each group on separate occasions.
Lawrence Hobbs predicts that Helena will be ready to take her pilot’s test this summer.
And in Helena’s own words: “Learning new things opens new doors.”