Cadet Lancaster stays grounded in community, looks to the skies

Cadet Lancaster stays grounded in community, looks to the skies
Posted on 03/28/2018
Hannah Lancaster keep her eyes on the sky as she prepares for her future.

By: Jade Wise
Pasadena ISD Communications

While most high school seniors are focused on end of year exams and deciding which college they will plant their roots, seventeen-year-old Hannah Lancaster, a cadet in the J. Frank Dobie AFJROTC program, has her eyes fixed on the skies. 

Lancaster’s dreams will take flight this summer as she is one of 120 cadets to be selected for a scholarship and a membership of the inaugural Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) Flight Training Program.

The scholarship program is a new, Air Force-level initiative in collaboration with the commercial aviation industry to address the national civilian and military pilot shortage. The scholarship, valued at approximately $20,000, covers transportation, room and board, academics and the flight hours required to potentially earn a private pilot license at one of six participating universities. 

“Around 800 cadets applied from all around the country,” said Lancaster. “I still don’t know how I got it, but I’m really proud.”

Lancaster, a full time student at the Dr. Kirk Lewis Career and Tech High School, has been involved in Dobie’s AFJROTC program since she was a sophomore and now serves as the unit’s Captain.

She embodies the vision and mission of the AFJROTC program by serving both her local community and plans to serve her country long-term following high school.

“My plan is to go to the Air Force Academy after high school, become a pilot for the Air Force for 10 years and then apply to the astronaut training program for NASA,” said Lancaster.

Through the AFJROTC program, Lancaster and her fellow cadets volunteer and serve the community in projects like ‘Wreathes Across America.’

“This last semester, we went to the Veteran’s Memorial, where my grandfather is actually buried, and we lay wreaths down and salute those who have served. It’s very respectful,” said Lancaster.

During Hurricane Harvey, Lancaster and fellow cadets looked for opportunities to help the community, even though she was personally affected by the storm.

“My house flooded, so I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to go out and help as much as would have liked,” said Lancaster. “We went to Dobie’s annex where all the donations were coming in and we helped organize and separate them. Then I’d go home and help my parents clean up our house.” 

She says that she views her AFJROTC team as family and that her instructors inspire her and push her to always go the extra mile.

“The instructors really help us out and inspire us,” said Lancaster. “Senior Master Sergeant Valdez always tells us, ‘There’s perfection out there, let’s go catch some excellence.’ It’s very inspiring and reminds me to strive to be the best I can be.” 

Hannah smiles during drills
Hannah Lancaster pauses for a smile during AFJROTC drills.

Hannah Lancaster Salute
Hannah Lancaster keep her eyes on the sky as she prepares for her future.