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History

The Beginnings

  • Mr. Dick DeVos was encouraged by his wife Betsy to combine his love of aviation to their commitment to education which resulted in the forming of the West Michigan Aviation Acacemy.
  • An old office building was secured at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport and was renovated.
  • Renovations transformed this old abandoned office space into a refreshed school building.
  • The first Parent/Student Information Night was held in the spring of 2010.
  • Mr. Pat Cwayna was hired and recruited his administration team, deans, and faculty.
  • All academic programs were in place and WMAA opened its doors to 80 Freshman Students in September of 2010 – the Class of 2014.
  • The colors blue and orange are adopted as the official school colors.

Highlights 2015-2016 School Year

  • The school year opened on September 8 with 538 students.
  • The school increased the number of available seats in each grade from 135 to 155.
  • The male/female ratio has grown to 71% male and 29% female.
  • The aviation department welcomed its second Cessna 172, a gift from Delta Airlines.
  • One student in the class of 2016 was named a National Merit Commended Scholar.
  • The Advanced Placement program continued to grow to a total of 10 offerings with the addition of AP Chemistry, AP Spanish Language & Culture, AP Computer Science A, and AP Statistics.
  • Two hundred ten (210) Advanced Placement examinations were administered to 128 students, an increase over the previous year.
  • A STEM Endorsement was implemented to recognize exemplary achievement in STEM coursework while also pursuing a rigorous academic curriculum.
  • 4 FTC Teams and 1 FRC team with almost 90 students involved.
  • One of the FTC teams (Team Apollo) were Michigan State Champions and were admitted to the North Super Regional Championship based on robot performance.
  • Four (4) graduates earned the STEM Endorsement in this first year of implementation.
  • The speaker at the 5th Annual Leaders of Tomorrow Gala was award winning journalist Campbell Brown, founder and editor-in-chief of The Seventy Four: a non-profit, non-partisan news site that focuses on education.
  • The school’s third Commencement Ceremony was held in the school gymnasium on June 2, 2016 with 84 graduates who earned $2.9 million dollars in scholarships.
  • Five (5) students committed to service in one of the branches of the military.
  • The 2016 recipient of the Gulfstream Aerospace Scholarship was Jonathan Ketcham.
  • Fifteen (15) graduates earned their FAA Private Pilot License.

Highlights 2014-2015 School Year

  • The school opened in September with 490 students.
  • Phase 4 of construction, which opened in September 2014, added 11 new classrooms, a high bay aviation space, and additional common space.
  • The Advanced Placement program expanded to six courses with 99 students taking 153 exams.
  • Twelve students earned their private pilot license through the Private Pilot Flight School course which met as a part of the school day.
  • Stephen Roelofs was awarded the Gulfstream Aerospace Scholarship.
  • A new scholarship, the Burris Family Aviation Scholarship, was awarded to Tyler Herndon.
  • West Michigan Aviation Academy was named a Partner School with the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. This partnership was formally signed at a ceremony on May 19, 2015.
  • The school’s second commencement program was held on June 4, 2015 with 83 graduates.
  • The keynote speakers at the 4th Annual Leaders of Tomorrow Gala were Colonel Mark Tillman, pilot of Air Force One on September 11, 2001 and former White House Chief of Staff Joseph Hagin II.
  • Our Robotics program exploded with 4 FTC teams and 1 FRC team involving 70 students.
  • One graduate earned an appointment to the United States Naval Academy – our first!

Highlights 2013-2014 School Year

  • The school increased the number of available seats in each grade from 100 to 135
  • The school year opened with 408 students in grades 9 through 12 – our first senior class.
  • One student was named a National Merit Commended Scholar.
  • Our first commencement ceremony was held on June 5, 2014 with 73 graduates.
  • There were three licensed private pilots in the graduating class.
  • Apollo 13 Astronaut, Captain James Lovell, was the guest speaker for the 3rd Annual Leaders of Tomorrow Gala. He was joined by legendary NASA Flight Control Director, Gene Kranz.
  • Max Gale, the first recipient of the Gulfstream Aerospace Scholarship was recognized at the Gala.
  • The Advanced Placement program expanded to include five courses with sixty-eight students taking 95 exams.
  • Our female population grew from 11% to 23%.
  • FTC Robotics grew to 3 teams with 32 students participating.

Highlights 2012-2013 School Year

  • Opening day of the 2012-2013 school year features the 25,000 sq ft. newly constructed building.
  • Just over 247 Freshman, Sophomore and Junior students attend WMAA.
  • The Aviators are born! Interscholastic sports commence with the first Cross Country team competing under the helm of coach Zach Ripley.
  • The 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush speaks at the 2nd Annual Leaders of Tomorrow Gala.
  • Josh Nienhaus becomes the first recipient of a WMAA Bomber Jacket in honor of his first solo flight.Video, Expect Success From West Michigan Aviation Academy; Young pilots big dreams, Maranda Where You Live, aired June, 18 2013
  • Decision is made to purchase a Cessna 172 to support flight interests of WMAA students.
  • FTC Robotics came to WMAA with 1 team involving 16 students.

Highlights 2011-2012 School Year

  • 150 Freshman and Sophomore students attend WMAA.
  • Astronaut and U.S. Navy Captain Mark Kelly stops by to speak to students.
  • Students take a course at the Kent County Technical Center.
  • Choir performs at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport’s annual Christmas student choir event.
  • Ground breaking for new building takes place in February of 2012.
  • The inaugural Leaders of Tomorrow Gala takes place in May with guest speaker Richard DeVos, Sr.

Highlights 2010-2011 School Year

  • Students meet the Tuskegee Airmen.
  • General Colin Powell, American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army Visits WMAA.
  • Students fly to Washington DC for a one day trip, accompanied by local television personality, Maranda.