It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 12 years since graduating from Chicago Christian in 2011. The more I reflect on my time there, the more it feels like I was just walking upper B hall or eating freshly baked cookies for break in the cafeteria. CCHS helped form the foundation for my adult life, and I believe it played a large role in my success during college and getting established in my career. I felt prepared for my field and I’m very thankful to the teachers, principals, coaches, and mentors who guided me in discovering my talents and interests. And most importantly, all done alongside biblical principles and encouraged a relationship with Christ.
From a young age, I knew I wanted to be an airline pilot and CCHS helped me prepare for that career in several ways. One of those being a strong base in math and science. I had the opportunity to take advanced placement classes in subjects like calculus and physics that took my learning to higher levels. Teachers like Dr. Kuipers, Mrs. Hamstra, and Mr. Culver helped make difficult subjects understandable and fun. I also played four years of basketball and baseball and have fond memories from the extracurriculars at CCHS. I had some great coaches, such as Eric Brauer and Kevin Pittman, who helped me come out of my shell and develop team skills that I can say I still use to this day. Some of my best friends came from playing sports at CCHS, several of them stood up at my wedding, and I’m very thankful for those long-lasting friendships. On the subject of weddings, I married my high school sweetheart, Kelsey (Schaver) in 2018. We have two children, Evelyn and Benjamin, and couldn’t be more blessed as we continue our journey together that started in the halls of Chicago Christian.
After graduating from CCHS, I attended Lewis University in Romeoville and graduated with my bachelor of science in Flight Management in 2015. During my time in college, I completed flight training up to my Commercial pilot certificate with the hopes of becoming an airline pilot. The summer after I graduated from Lewis, I attended an accelerated course at American Flyers in Pompano Beach, Florida, in order to get my Flight Instructor certificate. This allowed me to get a job as a flight instructor at Griffith Airport in Indiana and start building my experience as a pilot. In order to get hired by an airline I needed 1,000 hours of flight time, and the time I spent instructing students in an airplane counted towards that goal. At Griffith, I had the opportunity to teach foreign flight students from China. It was a cool experience to work with individuals from the other side of the world and a great opportunity to learn about other cultures. When I obtained my 1,000 hours of flight instructing, I applied to an airline called SkyWest Airlines which flies small regional jets for Delta, United, American, and Alaska Airlines. I started at SkyWest in 2016 and flew for them until January of 2022. During my time at SkyWest, I got to fly the Bombardier CRJ aircraft as a first officer and a captain based out of O’Hare. In my last year at SkyWest, I was part of a small group of captains specially qualified to fly in and out of Aspen, Colorado. Even though SkyWest was a great airline to fly for, my ultimate goal was to fly for a major airline, and I received the opportunity to interview at Delta Air Lines in December of 2021 and started at Delta in February of 2022. I couldn’t be happier to have achieved my dream of flying for a major airline and so far have really enjoyed working for Delta. I fly the Boeing 737 and I’m based in Detroit crisscrossing the country on a weekly basis.
I’m grateful to everyone at CCHS who played a part in shaping and preparing me for my career. I’m also grateful to my parents who made countless sacrifices to make sure my brother, Bryan, and I had access to a great Christian education that would end up being the cornerstone of the person I am today. Almost every teacher, coach, and administrator that I came in contact with at CCHS genuinely cared about my success and helped me to strive for excellence in every part of my life. I am blessed to have been a part of the CCHS family and will always have fond memories of the people and lessons learned during my time there.