02.27.2019

Full Speed Ahead: Fidel on Fast Track to Becoming Pilot

By Narelle Bennett-Elliott, Treehouse Marketing & Policy Intern

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As a kid in the violent Democratic Republic of Congo, Fidel saw United Nations helicopters in flight and was captivated. He wondered what it would take to learn to fly. Ten years later and now a refugee in the United States, Fidel is well on his way to fulfilling his dream of becoming a commercial pilot.

He recently passed his sport pilot license test—the first of three licenses he plans to obtain along his journey.

“The most satisfying part is being able to finally fly with people,” Fidel said.

He also earned his two-year degree in aviation maintenance from Everett Community College after completing 160 credits of coursework. In order to complete the program as quickly as he has, he attended college continuously since the summer of 2016. That’s nine quarters in a row, including summers, six hours every day.

“When you count Running Start which Fidel did fulltime, he has been in college since the fall of 2015 and is taking more classes now,” said Sherry Edwards, Fidel’s Education Specialist at Treehouse. “That’s more than three years without a break.”

His life goals are to fly for a major airline, have a family and enough money in the bank to save and help others. That last part is extremely important to him. To get there, he’ll need to earn his private pilot’s license and then his commercial license.

Fidel is currently in the process of finishing his prerequisites at Everett Community College. He will then transfer to Central Washington University where he’ll seek a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management.

He remains determined to make the most of his opportunities as quickly as possible. And he’s extremely thankful for all of the support along the way—from Lutheran Community Services, his nurturing foster family, siblings, teachers, his former school bus driver Richard, who shares his love of aviation, and Treehouse, which provided his first pair of new shoes and continues to support his dreams.

“Treehouse has changed my life. Otherwise, I don’t know where I would be,” Fidel said.

Sherry has no doubts he’ll make it.

“Fidel warms my heart and keeps me going,” Sherry said. “Watching this young man work so hard to achieve his dreams despite so many obstacles is inspiring to me. I am proud to have gotten to be a small part of it all.”

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About the Author

Narelle is the Treehouse Marketing and Policy Intern.


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