Angel Gonzalez Pursued his Passion for Aviation with Hallmark’s Aero CHI Program
Angel Gonzalez, a recent graduate from the College of Aeronautics at Hallmark University, is so captivated by aircraft and aviation, that even his email address is a reference to multiple Boeing passenger planes. Angel is incredibly devoted to this lifelong passion of his, which led him to join Hallmark University’s Aero CHI program in high school and helped him to graduate with two degrees in less than a year.
The Aerospace College Head-start Institute, or Aero CHI, offers high school students the chance to learn how to work with aircraft at Hallmark’s College of Aeronautics during their Junior and Senior years. It lets high schoolers learn more about aviation and expand their passion, just as it did for Angel.
“When I was three years old living in Chicago, my parents would take me to the airport and watch the planes take off and land for hours,” shared Angel. “I just fell in love with aviation, and I wanted to learn more about it. It just inspired my imagination.”
Angel’s passion for aviation flourished as he grew older. He put model airplanes together, attended airshows, and is about to receive his pilot’s license. Angel has even volunteered his time with the Experimental Aircraft Association to help with the restoration of an old plane.
“I was asked to help them with a few projects, and one of them was to restore an old airplane. We wanted to give young people a chance to experience the thrill of flight and get involved so they could grow their interest and passion for aviation as I did.”
An aircraft’s ability to fly thousands of feet into the air fascinates Angel, and he wanted to learn how the construction and design of planes work together in harmony to achieve flight. Angel learned about Aero CHI as recruitment for the first cohort began in 2017 and saw the chance to learn more about aviation and the role of Aircraft Technicians.
“I visited Hallmark’s Aviation Campus during an Aero CHI open house, and I got an idea of what it would be like to start training as a technician. It sparked my interest in the program, and my mom was excited and pushing for me to join.”
Nearly every day during his Junior and Senior years, Angel spent his mornings at the College of Aeronautics and learned to work with aircraft, engines, and more. In May of 2019, Angel and his classmates were the first to complete the Aero CHI program.
“To be honest, I just wanted to stay at Hallmark all day. I wanted to spend every day in the classroom learning more about airplanes. I learned a lot from my instructors as well as my classmates and their views on aviation; the entire experience just grew my passion even more.”
Since Angel began his college-level training in Aero CHI during high school, he was on track to complete his education in less than a year. In June of 2020, Angel graduated with two associate degrees and his FAA certifications, prepared to begin a fulfilling and lifelong career in aviation at only 19.
“I think my mom is really proud of me to have joined the program and done so much already. And I have to thank her for encouraging me to join Aero CHI; it taught me so much and made me even more excited for aviation.”
Angel is the exact type of student that Aero CHI was designed to serve and has since grown to include more school districts in San Antonio in recent years. Aero CHI is set to begin with nearly 50 new students this school year and has adapted to meet the challenges presented by the Coronavirus.