Flight Students

In 2020, SJVA received a grant from American Airlines that provided students with the opportunity to take their first flight and receive an additional 5 to 10 hours of flight training. This has been a great success as it has helped many students identify and confirm their passion for flight and set them on a path to further explore and pursue careers in aviation. Below you will be introduced to past and present SJVA flight students who have benefited and learned about their aviation goals and endeavors. As of today, 40 SJVA students have taken an introducotry flight through a local flight school or EAA Young Eagles flight program. In addition, 6 SJVA staff members have taken flight through EAA Eagles flight program. If you would like to help SJVA introduce more students to the wonders of flight and find their career, you can donate using the link below or contact the Director of Aviation at panady@sjacademy.org

Class of 2022


Jayden Vanegas

Aviation Accomplishments: Solo Flight – 03/28/2021

I am Jayden Vanegas and I have been attending SJVA since 6th grade. I’m an International BaccalaureateDiploma Candidate at SJVA. In addition, I’m taking classes at MSJC through their dual enrollment program. I am a very active student participating in varsity sports and I am a brown belt in Karate. During my freshman year of high school, I took Introduction to Aviation as an elective course, not thinking too much of it. As a result of that introductory course, it turned out that I had a much bigger interest in aviation than I had originally thought.  The following year I took Aviation 1 – Ground, which is a much more rigorous course that really helped me understand the fundamentals of flight and how airplanes operate. During the first semester of Aviation 1, I had the opportunity to apply for a flight program made possible through a grant from  American Airlines. This provided me an opportunity to start flying and it has paved the path for me to start my career in aviation. Currently, I am taking Aviation 2 – Flight which is further preparing me to take the FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Exam and help develop my knowledge and skills to earn my Private Pilot’s Certificate. I am actively looking for scholarships, and finding ways to continue my flight lessons. My number one goal as of right now is to earn my Private Pilot Certificate before I graduate high school. Achieving this goal will help lead to my next one, continuing my training at the American Airline Cadet Academy.

Ricardo Acosta

Aviation Accomplishments Solo Flight – 04/24/2021

My name is Ricardo and I’m attending SJVA as a senior. My introduction to aviation started when I first saw an remote control airplane and it fascinated me. Some years later, I joined San Jacinto Valley Academy’s Aviation Club in middle school where I was exposed to more aviation than I thought possible. While passionate about aviation, but unsure if I’d be interested in actually flying, Mr. Anady was kind enough to give students from the club an introductory flight and from that day forward I was hooked.My goal and focus has now switched from small RC airplanes to flying the real deal.  Through the grant SJVA received, I have been able to start taking flight lessons and have taken SJVA’s Introduction to Aviation, Aviation 1 – Ground, and Aviation 2 – Flight courses. I still enjoy flying remote control aircraft, therefore, I’d like to also earn my Remote Pilot Certificate and possibly make money from it to help pay for flight lessons. My goal for the next two years is to pass the Private Pilot Knowledge exam and gain the majority of my flight hours to earn my Private Pilot Certificate. 

Hailey Rodriquez

Aviation Accomplishments Solo Flight – 07/03/2021

Hello, my name is Haley Rodriguez and I am currently attending SJVA in the 12th grade. My love for aviation all started during my freshman year when I took SJVA’s Intrduction to Aviation. The thing is, I didn’t even want to be in aviation at first! I chose art as the elective I wanted, and ended up in aviation. When I told my parents that I wanted to switch out, my dad convinced me otherwise. That led me to where I am now. I have taken Introduction to Aviation, Aviation 1 – Ground, and Aviation 2 – Flight. I’ve always dreamt of flying through the sky, but never saw being a pilot as a career choice. SJVA’s Aviation Academy has changed my mindset. I’m currently flying with an instructor at French Valley Airport about once a week.

My goal is to obtain my Private Pilot certificate before I graduate high school. After high school, I plan on attending California Aeronautical University and earning all of my additional certificates and ratings while having a job on campus to support myself. After my three years of college (CAU graduates students in 3 years), I plan on working at a regional airline before moving on to one of the major airlines.

Mahalia Phillips

Greetings fellow human! I’m Mahalia. I am currently a Senior at San Jacinto Valley Academy and am a International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme  and Aviation student. I happen to also be in SJVA’s Songwriting Program which started this year. I wanted to stay in touch with my inner musician which is very important to me. Don’t get wrong aviation is music to my ears, but they aren’t the same thing. With my decision to focus on pursuing my career, I opted out of band for aviation. I don’t believe younger me would have imagined that I’d become a pilot because of how connected I was with music; but if I had been exposed to aviation earlier,  no doubt about it, I think would have been very excited!

I am taking flight lessons with an instructor once a week at French Valley Airport. All of this was made possible through SJVA’s Aviation Academy and the grant they received from American Airlines. With the help I have received, I hope to have my Private Pilot certificate by the end of my senior year. After high school I plan on attending universities like Embry-Riddle or Academies like the Air Force Academy. My career goals are are to become an astronaut and commander.


Orlando Acevedo

My name is Orlando Acevedo and I am currently a senior at SJVA. My love for Aviation started in 6th grade when I joined San Jacinto Valley Academy’s Aviation Club. The club was led by Phil Anady and Tom Evans at the time and had given me my first taste of aviation. From there, we had mostly done small projects and simulators until we had the opportunity to go on a field trip to a nearby airport. On May 21st, 2016 at the age of 12, I took my very first flight and haven’t stopped since!  After my first introductory flight, I knew this was going to be something I wanted in my life. So, about once or twice a month, I would take a flight lesson and  became a full student pilot.  Currently, I am flying at Executive Flight Institute and have over 30 hours of flight time. I have been lucky enough to fly out of Hemet Ryan airport, French Valley airport, Perris Valley airport and March Air Force Reserve Base. I am a member of the Aviation Explorer Post 7500, I wash planes on the weekends at French Valley Airport to help fund my flights, and my goal it to obtain my Private Pilot certificate before I finish high school.  I would like to attend California Aeronautical University after I graduate high school. I was introduced to CAU in SJVA’s Introduction to Aviation class, when a person from CAU came and presented to our class. My goal is to attend CAU with my Private Pilot already obtained. My plan is to graduate from there in 3 years and then become a flight instructor at that school to gain flight hours and obtain the Airline Transport Pilot Certificate and work for an airline and live my life as a successful pilot.  The passion I have developed for aviation would have never been if tt weren’t for Phil Anady,  Tom Evans, and Jason Espinosa as they continued to push me towards my goals and inspire me to become the person I am today. These 3 men, along with the support from my parents, my Tata Orlando who passed away this year, and my Nana Virginia who encourage me to accomplish my goals and become what I’ve dreamt doing since the start of it all,  a great pilot and a successful person in life!  When people ask me how it feels to fly I always tell them the same thing, “It is as beautiful as it is scary!”

Jesus Alcarez 

Hello, My name is Jesus Alcaraz, my aviation journey began during my freshman year of high school. I was looking for an elective to take and not a single course caught my eye, except for Introduction to Aviation. The class was fun and exciting, we were doing various projects that would end up building the foundation of my aviation journey. I decided to continue my aviation studies and took Aviation 1 – Ground my sophomore year of high school. It was during this time period that I took a discovery flight. After taking this flight, I knew very quickly that this is something that I would want to pursue. I now have 10+ hours of flight time of instruction received and working on more.  I have taken a part-time job in order to fund my flights and earn my Private Pilot certificate. This is all thanks to SJVA’s Aviation program and the opportunities they have provided me.

Jaiden Robinson

My name is Jaiden Robinson, I have been a part of San Jacinto Valley Academy’s Aviation Academy for three year – Introduction to Aviation, Aviation 1 – Ground, and Aviation 2 – Flight.  As a result of this program, it has allowed me to discover a deep-seated passion to fly. I originally started flying racing drones after school with Mr. Anady and other students and shortly after that I began to learn how to fly other quadcopters for aerial photography and mapping with Mr. Espinosa. Through the opportunity provided by SJVA and the grant from American Airlines, I have had the privilege to experience the wonderment of manned flight and nothing compares to that experience. As a result of the initial flight instruction provided by this grant, I have a goal to earn my Private Pilot certificate within the next two years. I have yet to decide which career in aviation is right for me, but no matter which career I go into, I know that my passion for aviation will never go away.

Andrew Kessler

Hello, my name is Andrew Kesler, I am a 12th grade student at San Jacinto Valley Academy. In my freshman year of high school, I had my first aviation class, Introduction to Aviation. Introduction to Aviation provided me with insight as to what the aviation field has to offer and more importantly what the requirement are to become a pilot. I thought that flying airplanes would be really interesting and something I could pursue down the road and obtain my Private Pilot certificate as well. In my sophomore year of high school, I took Aviation 1 – Ground and also joined the SJVA’s Aviation Club, through these opportunities I was able to the use flight simulators to develop a better understanding of what it is like to fly. The more I flew on the flight simulators, I became more eager to fly a real airplane. Currently, as a Junior in high school, I started to take flight lessons at French Valley Airport through the opportunity provided by SJVA and grant from American Airlines. As a result of taking these initial flight lessons, I have become even more passionate about earning my Private Pilot certificate.


Class of 2021

Adrian Fernandez

Hello, my name is Adrian Fernandez and I am here to say that the future seems limitless in the eyes of an aviator. Thanks to San Jacinto Valley Academy’s avid appreciation for aviation, I am able to explore more about the wonders of flying and pursue the various pathways aviation has to offer. Currently, I am in my senior year in high school with sky-high aspirations to become a pilot in the near future. I have already completed Introduction to Aviation and I’m currently taking Aviation 1 – Ground. Having discovered my beloved interest in piloting aircrafts in my Introduction to Aviation class, some of my main goals, as of now, is working with the flight school in order to get a private pilot’s certificate. The Cessna Flight Training program is a rigorous, but rewarding task that opens many pathways to a brighter future in the air. I’ve had much fun with the hands-on experience of learning how to properly and effectively operate aircrafts, yet there is still much more to learn. Personally, I find it especially fascinating how physics has allowed us to achieve new ways of maneuverability and ultimately has allowed us to achieve new heights. The future lies in the realm of aviation, and I want to have a take in the process to advance society and help others through the use of aircrafts.

Zakary Roberts Aviation Accomplishments: Solo Flight – 09/30/2021

Hello, I am Zakary Roberts and I attend San Jacinto Valley Academy. I have been at SJVA since 6th grade, and that was the year I met Mr. Anady. He had an Aviation Club which I joined and participated in until the end of middle school. I never really thought of aviation as a career until I joined Intro to Aviation in 11th grade. After seeing the many possibilities aviation has and the number of job positions becoming available, I decided that I wanted a career in aviation. More specifically, I wanted to be an airline pilot. I started my flight lessons with EFI back in May of this year. It has been an amazing experience that is also benefiting my future career. I always feel a bit nervous before a flight, but I know I have the help of the excellent instructors at EFI. Thanks to the Aviation program, I can get a head start towards my career when I intend to go to the American Airlines Cadet Academy in 2021. The Aviation program at SJVA is taught by Phil Anady, Jason Espinosa, and Tom Evans. They have all been a tremendous help for my career. I am continuing my journey by taking Aviation 1-Ground this year and taking more flight lessons. I still have a lot to learn and master, but I am willing to push myself to achieve my goals in aviation. img_5485-1

Fatima Murillo

My name is Fatima Murillo and I will be graduating from San Jacinto Valley Academy in the Spring of 2021. I have attended SJVA for 11 years and it wasn’t until my senior year that I had discovered my passion for flying. Before this year I would have never considered aviation as a career path and one that I would want to pursue. Thanks to SJVA’s aviation program, I had found, that there are multiple opportunities within aviation that I could engage in as a career. Through SJVA’s aviation program, I was provided with an opportunity to take an introductory flight and it was truly an eye-opening experience. My favorite part of this experience was the view. I don’t believe I could ever get tired of viewing the world from up above. Ever since I started on this new adventure, I have set a goal to start on the path to become an airline pilot. I have yet to learn much of the knowledge and skills for this career, as it is meticulous. Nevertheless, I am eager to learn everything there is to know about this career path and where it will take me. I now know that not even the sky is my limit. 

Class of 2020

IMG_1885Alex Zarate

Aviation Accomplishments: Solo Flight – 09/19/2020 Private Pilot Certificate – 11/04/2020 Instrument Rating – 01/21/2021 Commercial Pilot Certificate – 4/28/2021 Certificated Flight Instructor – 8/11/2021

My name is Alex Zarate and I was born into this world with a passion for aviation. I was raised in a Hispanic household with my mother, father, and older sister. Growing up, I spent an immense amount of time playing soccer and focusing on school. I attended San Jacinto Valley Academy where my eyes were opened up to aviation through their Aviation Academy tuaght by Phil Anady, Jason Espinosa, and Tom Evans. The classes I took were Introduction to Aviation and Aviation 1 – Ground.  All three of these teachers guided me to where I am today and opened my vision to the pilot route. I am currently an American Airlines Cadet Academy student striving to become an airline pilot for the major airlines.

The flight program was a great way for me to get flight time and the chance to fly and get myself immersed into the real deal. Overall, it helped me to learn some basic maneuvers in the sky and landing the aircraft back down on the ground. I’m very honored and ecstatic that I was chosen for the flight program. Now that I’m heading to a rigorous flight training program in San Diego, I’ll at least know the basics of flying and it will give me an advantage going into the American Airlines Cadet Academy.

I want to thank Phil Anady, Jason Espinosa, and Tom Evans for allowing me to find my aviation career with their guidance and prospects. Thank you very much and watch me fly as I embark on the pilot pathway.


Jay-McKayla Mortus

Aviation Accomplishments: Solo Flight – 02/05/2021

My name is Jay-McKayla Mortus. I am a San Jacinto Valley Academy class of 2020 graduate. I am currently attending Mount San Jacinto College and Executive Flight Institute. I attended SJVA for 10 years. During those years, I took part in many different extracurricular activities and programs, with our aviation program being, by far, my favorite. I became involved in the SJVA Aviation Program during my senior year when I was enrolled in the Intro to Aviation class with Mr. Anady and Mr. Espinosa. I wasn’t anticipating that, by taking this class, I was going to discover my passion for aviation but I ended up doing just that! The program is very diverse as it allows students to explore flying, aerospace engineering, and unmanned aircraft systems. I spent countless hours in the simulator growing my love for the sky. Getting that hands-on experience changed my whole mindset and that was when I began considering different careers in the field of aviation.  In the second semester of my senior year, I, along with seven other students, through SJVA’s Aviation Academy were awarded a flight scholarship grant from American Airlines that further aided us in getting started on our paths to a career in aviation. I began taking flight lessons at Executive Flight Institute at the French Valley Airport. I now plan to have completed my first solo flight by the end of this year and obtain my Private Pilot’s certificate by the time I turn 18. As for a career in aviation, I am working towards becoming a Commercial Airline Pilot and one day flying passengers and cargo all around the world. I plan to transfer to Cal State San Bernardino to study Aerospace Studies and to attend the American Airlines Cadet Academy. Thanks to this program, I have a clear vision and goal for my future. San Jacinto Valley Academy’s Aviation Program is an excellent program where students can realize that the sky was never the limit, it’s just the beginning.


Luis Godoy 

My name is Luis Godoy and I’ve decided to pursue higher education and become an aircraft technician. As a result of San Jacinto Valley Academy’s Aviation program and their instructors, I have found a career that I will be happy doing for the rest of my life. The grant that SJVA received from American Airlines has provided me with a great opportunity to fly. The flight lessons have helped me learn the different force and aspects of flight which has given me an advantage in my field of study compared to others pursuing the same career field. I’m currently attending Spartan College of Avionics and Technology and studying to get my Aviation Maintenance Professional Certificate (AMP) and plan on continuing with flight instruction to earn my Private Pilot Certificate.

Class of 2019

Isaiah Alford Aviation Accomplishments: FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Exam – July/November 2019

Hello, my name is Isaiah Alford and I am a graduate from San Jacinto Valley Academy, Class of 2019 and an International Baccalaureate Diploma recipient. My path to aviation began when I entered middle school and started attending Aviation Club with Mr. Anady every Wednesday. There, a passion grew within me for flight. The mini lessons on the fundamentals of flight, learning aircraft procedures on the simulator, and taking a flight in a Cessna 172 with Mr. Anady helped foster my interest in aviation. During my middle school years, I knew aviation was something I wanted to do but it was not until my sophomore year of high school that it became clearer.  Near the end of my 10th grade year, Mr. Anady approached me and shared with me that SJVA is developing and implementing a high school aviation program. I became ecstatic and excited to be a part of something that would change the school forever. For me though, as the saying goes, “good things come to those who wait.” As a result of my course schedule and participating in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, I could not fit the aviation course into my schedule until my senior year. During my 12th grade year, I took Introduction to Aviation and began my training with Mr. Evans and Mr. Anady to prepare for and pass the FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Exam in July 2019. Without the help and encouragement of both my family, my teachers; Mr. Anady, Mr. Evans, and Mr. Espinosa, and SJVA’s dedication to expanding the minds of its students and allowing them to explore different careers, I would not have accomplished all the things I have thus far. Since graduating from SJVA, I have attended California Baptist University’s aviation program, retaken the Private Pilot Knowledge exam and passed in November of 2019. I have acquired more than 30 hours of flight time and have a passion and goal to continue to pursue my dream of becoming a Missionary Pilot. I want to thank SJVA for all that was done for me and their dedication to their students. Without their passion, I may never have been exposed to Aviation and would never have known of my calling. I also want to thank Mr. Anady for laying down the foundation for my career in aviation and pushing to strive for greatness, Mr. Evans for showing me the proper procedures to flying an aircraft, and of course Mr. Espinosa for helping in my studies, pushing to dream big and never settle for anything but the best.
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