High School aviation club hosts fundraiser at Big Dan’s Thursday

Students from Elizabethton High School’s Top Gun Aviation Club gathered at Big Dan’s BBQ Thursday night to hold a fundraiser with the restaurant, raising money for the club’s activities.

Junior Bellah Kellerman said the funds they raised Thursday go towards out-of-school trips the club takes, which are important because of the rarity of what they are learning in the region.

“Aviation is not a common course to take,” Kellerman said. “In bigger cities, you expect that.”

Instructor Dan Mills has been teaching aviation for years in the school system, providing early experience the students say is crucial to their careers in the field.

“Early on is the most crucial part of your experience,” freshman Grayson Norris said. “It will last your entire lifetime.”

The fundraiser, which ran from 5 to 8 p.m., saw 10 percent of the revenue during that time period go to the aviation club. Students were there to serve as waiters and to assist customers who came to support them. Like many nights, the barbeque restaurant filled with people quickly, but this time they were there for more than just food.

The club itself showcased the passion for their study of aviation, both as a career and as a hobby.

“I thought it would be fun,” junior Braxton Kirton said. “We get to go on field trips and help others.”

Norris said his family members have a history in aviation, so it made sense for him to follow suit.

For others, the aviation program is a crucial reason to attend EHS in the first place, as is the case for freshman Eli Smith.

“It is good for people to have this here,” Kellerman said.

She said the experiences the club provides, including the opportunity for the program’s participants to take part in actual flights, provide a jump-start to their future careers in the field.

In addition, students said their participation in the club provides other benefits.

“It gives us a good work ethic,” Norris said.

Kirton said it was all about helping others.

This is not the only fundraiser the club puts on. Late this week and early next week students will be selling donuts to their fellow classmates.

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