by Kory Watson, PNBAA Intern and RAHS Student
On Thursday, October 17th, a Boeing 737-900ER filled with students, teachers, and prominent figures in the aviation industry landed at Boeing Field while hundreds of people watched. This was no ordinary Alaska Airlines 737: the company had agreed to paint the 737 specially for Raisbeck Aviation High School, a special school for students in the Seattle area looking for a career in aviation. On the side of the plane was painted “Supporting Education, Making Dreams Soar.” Near the front entrance of the plane, the words “Proud Supporters of Raisbeck Aviation High School” were displayed.
This event was held to commemorate the grand opening of Raisbeck Aviation High School’s new building. This three-story, 47-million dollar building is full of state of the art equipment and materials for the school’s teachers and students to use daily. Each classroom has a large TV monitor, and each student received a laptop to use during class and for homework after school. Additionally, the building is located across the street from Seattle’s very own Boeing Field and the Museum of Flight, both of which have volunteered to offer their vast resources to the school’s students and teachers.
The grand opening was most definitely a large step for the aviation industry in the Seattle area. Raisbeck Aviation High School, as conveyed by its name, is a high school created for kids dreaming of joining the aviation industry whether by becoming a pilot, engineer, or something completely different. Boeing and other aerospace companies are counting on the school’s students to become their next generation of engineers, scientists, pilots, etc.
This special occasion had been planned for a very long time. Since the school started years ago, Reba Gilman, the school’s principal, has been working rigorously to not only create the school itself, but also to find donors for the new building. Over time, through showing what the old Aviation High School and its impressive students and teachers were already doing, RAHS received funding from many companies, organizations, and individuals in the Seattle area – including the proceeds raised from PNBAA’s annual charity golf tournaments. The largest donor was Dr.James Raisbeck, the founder of Raisbeck Engineering and the person for whom the school was renamed.