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Katelyn Pitman: above and beyond

From her back porch, Katelyn Pitman used to watch airplanes make their final descent into the Colorado Springs airport. She dreamed of becoming a pilot one day; perhaps serving her country in the U.S. Air Force.Pitman is a senior at Falcon High School and is slowly but surely working toward making her dream a reality. As group commander of the Air Force Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, she has already set her sights on attending a college where she can continue her military training. Pitman has applied to the Air Force Academy, the Coast Guard Academy, Arizona State University, Baylor University and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, to name a few.ìIf I go through the ROTC through another school, I would owe (the Air Force) time, so I will be in the Air Force either way,î she said. ìI fell in love with the organization and its values and being able to protect the country.îTo get a jump on becoming a pilot, Pitman is working toward a flight instructor certification. She has already passed the knowledge test, with a 95 percent score; and is trying to put in her 40 hours of flight time. ìI only have six right now,î she said. ìIt’s super expensive. I have to apply for scholarships now to help pay for the hours.î Pitman has also been helping out at the Meadow Lake Airport with the private ground-school pilot class.In addition to pilot certification classes, Pitman has been honing her leadership skills through the Aerospace and Technology Honors Camp at the University of New Mexico and the AFA. ìI went to a summer leadership program at the Academy,î she said. ìWe went up and stayed there at the prep schools for a week, doing leadership training, doing PT (physical training), doing drills. It gives you a feel for the Air Force career and how it would feel to be at the Academy.îPitman’s dad, Larry Pitman, said he is proud of her hard work and interest in the Air Force. ìI have mixed emotions about it (serving in the military),î he said. ìI’m very proud of her, and I think it’s very admirable. But at the same time, I’m a father, and I would be fearful of my daughter being in a combat situation.î However, Pitman added, ìI’m not going to stand in her way.îOutside of her work with the JROTC and preparations for the Air Force, Katelyn Pitman has worked extensively doing community service. ìI’ve done a lot of community service with the National Mill Dog Rescue,î she said. ìI’ve helped rehabilitate (the dogs) and done some cleaning. I’ve helped with Santa’s Toy Express during Christmas time. I volunteered with the Vacation Bible School at Mountain Springs Church and have done concessions for them.îPitman is also a member of the Student 2 Student program at FHS, which involves mentoring new students and guiding them through their first few months. She has also volunteered with local elementary schools by helping kids with science fair projects.With a full schedule, Pitman still finds time to play golf and soccer for FHS. She has gone to the state golf tournament twice, finishing in 39th place at her most recent tournament. Preseason soccer starts in mid-November, she said.Even with an overflowing plate, Pitman maintains high grades. She has a 4.043 grade point average because of added points for advanced placement and honors classes and ranks 13 out of 282 seniors.In October, the Falcon Exchange Club presented Pitman with the ìYouth of the Monthî award. She received a plaque and a monetary award for her achievements in school and the community. Pitman will compete for the ìYouth of the Yearî award; and, if she wins, sheíll go on to the district competition. Winning the district would mean a chance for the national award, which features a $10,000 scholarship.Pitman’s advice to upcoming freshmen: ìStart early. Freshman year, I studied all the time and made sure my grades were solid. You really have to go above and beyond.î

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