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Roxbury Student and Teacher Receive 2022 AOPA Flight Training Scholarships

RHS Student and teacher in front of an United airplane in Newark during a private tour

Roxbury Student and Teacher Receive 2022 AOPA Flight Training Scholarships 

ROXBURY, NJ (May 4, 2022) – Roxbury Township Public Schools is proud to announce that Roxbury High School aviation teacher Dr. Michael Gottfried and Sophomore Tyler Benedetto each recently received a $10,000 AOPA Foundation Scholarship.

Each year, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) offers 80 student scholarships and 20 teacher scholarships generously provided by The Ray Foundation. Students and faculty from several hundred high schools across the country implementing AOPA’s curriculum are eligible to apply for this scholarship.

In order to be eligible for this award, students and staff need to be part of an AOPA aviation program, have taken and passed the FAA written exam, and commit to earning their pilot’s license within a year of receiving the award. Students also need to be 16-18 years old and maintain a 2.7 GPA.

Roxbury first implemented the first year of a four-year aviation program in the 2020/2021 school year, utilizing curriculum provided by AOPA. The program prepares students to take their drone pilot or private pilot’s license by the end of their third year. Students learn about aircraft and its systems, the policies and procedures of flight, and how to fly both an airplane and a drone. Students get hands-on experience with both, as the program has several flight simulators and drones.

Since Roxbury’s program has not covered all material through Aviation 3 yet, Benedetto and Dr. Gottfried spent a couple of months learning the content through an online course and study materials.

Any RHS student is eligible to join the program, but it is preferred that freshman join so they can participate all four years. While it is encouraged, students do not need to take all four years in the program, which is an elective course in addition to their required science class each year.

Roxbury High School’s aviation program currently has 35 students enrolled (20 in Aviation 1 and 15 in Aviation 2), but that number will expand to 50 as more students are enrolled in the program for the 2022/2023 school year.

The $10,000 AOPA Foundation Scholarships award to Dr. Gottfried and Benedetto will be allocated towards flight training, which can cost upwards of $20,000 per person to earn their Private Pilot’s License.

Benedetto plans to use this opportunity as the first step toward becoming an airline pilot with United, after attending a school for Aerospace Engineering. Dr. Gottfried will use this experience to reinforce instruction and better prepare students for a career in aviation.

Dr. Gottfried shared, “I’m excited to take on this new journey since it will have such a positive impact on our school and our students.”

As for Benedetto, he shared, “This is only the beginning for me. I can’t wait to see where this path takes me.”

Both plan to start flight training in May and these experiences will go a long way to strengthen the aviation program at Roxbury High School.

The two took a trip to Newark Airport to have a private tour of the airport and its operations on May 3rd.

PHOTO ATTACHED (courtesy of Roxbury High School)


For more information, contact: Roxbury Community School/Community Relations Coordinator Ann Rhodes at or 973-584-7699.


Roxbury Public Schools is a K-12 school district preparing the children of today for tomorrow. As a dynamic and thriving district, in partnership with a supportive and collaborative community, Roxbury Public Schools inspires and empowers all learners to flourish as ethical and global citizens in the 21st century. The district serves students throughout Roxbury Township, New Jersey, including the areas of Landing, Kenvil, Succasunna, Ledgewood, Mount Arlington, Port Morris, Flanders, and Wharton. Connect with us online at or on Facebook at