Local Rotary club presents first aviation scholarship

Local Rotary club presents first aviation scholarship
Local Rotary club presents first aviation scholarship
Pictured (l-r) are Luis Ortega, president, of Miami-Kendall Rotary Club; Sergio Cruz, and Carol Nobels, club past president.

It was a special day for a Kendall student and a fledgling service club on July 16. That’s when Sergio Cruz, 22, received the first scholarship ever presented by the Rotary Club Miami-Kendall during a “Shoot for the Stars” celebration at Miami Executive Airport.

“It was a big moment for us because we are a small club, started in 2009, and we wanted to do something for the community as Rotary International club members do all over the world,” said Carol Nobels, past president of the club.

The scholarship award in aviation was named to honor the late Lt. Col. Eldridge Williams, a member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen during WWII who later became a coordinator with Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Members of the young Rotary Club joining with Nobels for the presentation were Luis Ortega, Yasmine Bally, Sherry Maer, Ed Escobar and Lilia Fontana.

“I appreciate that Miami-Kendall Rotary recognizes students like me who love aviation,” Cruz said. “It is encouraging. The scholarship award made me happy and my family proud.”

An essay by Cruz that earned him the award tells the story of a youngster in love with aviation.

“Ever since I can remember I have been fascinated by the heavens with its airplanes and rockets, “he wrote. “I am the typical kid who has his collection of airplanes in his room. I remember that my Dad would take me to the edge of the Miami International Airport so we could watch the planes take off.

At South Dade High School Cruz became interested in rocketry and started a club which still holds monthly launches.

“When I started Miami-Dade College I would take the bus to school; my classes were in the Miami Executive Airport. I would walk through the airport gates…and feel like a kid in a candy shop.”

That’s how Cruz soon became a volunteer at the Wings Over Miami Air Museum while majoring in aviation administration at MDC-Kendall campus with the goal of becoming an airport manager.

“My plans are to be a space port manager. A space port is like an airport, but it deals with rockets and space craft. This ever growing industry is gaining more momentum,” Cruz said.

“Before I started college my Dad told me I should find a career where there will always be a demand for my skills. With this in mind I thought why not aviation since we humans are always traveling and finding new ways in getting from point A to point B much faster.” Cruz hopes to transfer to Florida Memorial College to major in aeronautical science or go to FIU to study aeronautical engineering.

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