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Pajaro Valley Aviation Academy Awards Three $4,000 Aviation Scholarships to Local Youth

The Pajaro Valley Aviation Academy (PVAA) recently awarded three $4,000 scholarships to young people in our local community. All three recipients will use their scholarship awards to help obtain their Private Pilot Certificate.

Brooke Beetham recently graduated from UCSC with a BS in Biology. As an EMT for Santa Cruz County, Brooke fell in love with aviation as she observed and admired the important work of air-ambulance pilots. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and CZU Lightning Complex fires, Brooke had to defer her dream of becoming a pilot. The $4,000 PVAA scholarship will help Brooke work toward her Private Pilot Certificate. Ultimately, she plans to fly for an air-ambulance service to combine her passions for emergency medicine and aviation. Brooke’s scholarship is partially funded by the Dan Chauvet Permanent Fund.

Drew Dudek is finishing his junior year at Scotts Valley High School. Drew’s interest in aviation stems from his love of history, especially military aviation history. Drew plans to pursue a career in aviation, either as an aeronautical engineer or as a commercial pilot. Drew’s $4,000 scholarship will be used for his private pilot training. Drew’s scholarship is partially funded by the Gabe Suarez Permanent Fund.

Nicole Hernandez started flying with EAA chapter 119 Young Eagles when she was 8 years old. As she completes her senior year at Pacific Coast Charter School, Nicole is thrilled to be working toward her lifelong dream of becoming a private pilot and hopes to share her love of aviation by flying with local youth through the Young Eagles program. Nicole plans to study Computer Science or Software Engineering in college. Her $4,000 scholarship is partially funded by the Bob Ross Permanent Fund.

The PVAA was formed in 1999 with the sole purpose of providing scholarships to local young people, between the ages of 16 and 25, to pursue their aviation dreams. Since its inception, the PVAA has awarded over $140,000 in scholarships for ratings and certificates ranging from Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic, Private Pilot, Commercial Helicopter Pilot, Multi-engine, Instrument, Airline Transport Pilot, Jet type ratings, and Certified Flight Instructor. Applications and information about applying for a scholarship can be found on the PVAA website: The PVAA will award their next scholarship in the fall of 2021.

The PVAA is a 501.C3, tax-deductible organization to the full extent of the law. PVAA receives its funding from contributors and investment earnings. A contributor can (1)

make a donation to an established named permanent fund, (2) set up a named fund ($2,000 minimum donation), or (3) simply contribute. The first named permanent fund was the Louise Minniear fund. Throughout the years, other named funds have been added including those for William T. (Bill) Cleaverdon, Gabriel Suarez, James A. (Jim) Young, Bob Ross, Ken Reinhart, and Bobby Hendrickson, all strong supporters of the PVAA’s mission. The donated amount remains in the fund for perpetuity and the invested proceeds provide funding for scholarships in the name of the person. Anyone interested in contributing to the PVAA can contact Marjorie Bachman, PVAA Chairperson, at (831) 722-5138.

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