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 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 

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.

Class of 2022


Orlando Acevedo

My name is Orlando Acevedo and I am currently a Junior 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!”

Jayden Vanegas  

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. As of right now, I have around 15 hours of flight time. 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 

My name is Ricardo and I’m attending SJVA as a junior. 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. As of now I have completed 5 flight lessons and taking an online course and Aviation 2 – Flight at SJVA to help me pass the FAA Private Pilot Knowledge exam. 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. 

Jesus Alcarez Introduction Forthcoming

Hailey Rodriquez Introduction Forthcoming

Mahalia Phillips Photo and Introdcution Forthcoming

Andrew Kessler Photo and Introdcution Forthcoming

Jaiden Robinson Photo and Introduction Forthcoming

John Diaz Photo and Introduction Forthcoming

Class of 2020

Class of 2020


Jay-McKayla Mortus

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.

IMG_1885Alex Zarate Aviation Accomplishments: Solo Flight – 9/19/2020

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.

SJVA is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization