DVHS senior chosen for highly-selective Air Force JROTC Flight Academy
Only a few teens can say they have their private pilot license, especially before their driver's license.
Del Valle High School senior Lalit Khadka will soon join the list. This summer, he will attend the highly-selective Air Force JROTC Flight Academy.
Initially one of 100 alternates, Lalit soon learned he would be one of only 200 students attending the flight academy. "I had hopes, and now I was selected, and I feel pretty good about it," Lalit said after learning he would attend the flight academy.
The academy is a two-month summer aviation training program at partnering universities nationwide. Students attend for free, as the Air Force funds scholarships for selected students worth tens of thousands of dollars per student. He will earn a private pilot's license at the end of the program.
"I was excited for him. I was truly excited for him. It's a great honor, and he's the second student out of Del Valle to get picked up for it," said Col. (Ret.) Michael Kinslow, Senior Aerospace Instructor AFJROTC at DVHS.
Lalit qualified for the opportunity following an extensive application process, including a physical fitness test, taking the Aviation Qualification Test, submitting recommendation letters, college entrance exam scores, and his high school GPA.
"I look forward to gaining experience in flight, learning how to handle a plane, and getting my private pilot license. I'll probably get my pilot's license before my driver's license," Lalit said with a laugh. As a student with his learner's permit, he'll likely be allowed to navigate a plane through the skies before a car on the roads - all thanks to the Flight Academy opportunity.
Lalit recalls always having an interest in aviation since he was young and lived in Nepal. After moving to the U.S. with his family in 2018, he started at DVHS and joined JROTC in August 2022. He aims to continue his experience in college by joining ROTC while studying aerospace engineering. His ultimate goal is to join the U.S. Air Force.
"I hope to become a pilot in the U.S. Air Force. It would be a great honor to serve in the Air Force. No one (in my family) is from a military background, so I would be the first in my family to get into the military. Especially in flight, I'm very excited about that," he said.
DVISD Superintendent Annette Tielle said she and school district are proud of Lalit for his accomplishment.
“We are incredibly proud of Lalit for his acceptance into the Air Force JROTC Flight Academy this summer. The military heritage we have in Del Valle ISD makes his selection even more significant, and we know he will represent Del Valle ISD well as he moves forward on a career path to become an Air Force pilot,” she said.