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July 9, 2021

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

Rising junior earns big flight training scholarship from world's largest aviation association. 

Notre Dame rising junior Alexis Kuyoth is getting closer to becoming a licensed pilot.

Last week, Notre Dame Prep rising junior, Alexis Kuyoth, 16, completed her first solo flight as a pilot of a small airplane. It was just another step in her lifelong quest to get a full pilot's license by the time she's 17.

About a month and a half ago, the Lake Orion resident got some big help in that quest when she received a $10,000 flight training scholarship from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Foundation.

"My family and I have been members of the AOPA for decades and have known about this scholarship for a while," Kuyoth said. "This year, since I was old enough to start flying lessons, I decided to apply for the AOPA Flight Training Scholarship, sponsored by the Ray Foundation. AOPA said they were looking for excellent students with a passion for aviation along with a record of volunteer work within the aviation community. When I found out that I was getting this scholarship, I was more than elated. I plan to use the money to finish the flight training I've already begun."

AOPA Foundation Executive Director Melissa Rudinger said her organization was thrilled to be able to make such a difference to those interested in flying.

“High schoolers like Alexis are able to get an early start in aviation; aviation teachers can gain a better understanding of the material they teach by learning to fly; others can continue their primary training; and already certificated pilots can work on higher ratings and certificates,” Rudinger said. 

For Kuyoth, though, whose sister, Audrey, is a rising sophomore at NDP, her "early start" in flying airplanes began a long time ago. 

Kuyoth preps her Piper Comanche 260 before a recent flight. 

"Ever since I was six weeks old, I think I was well on my way to becoming the fourth-generation pilot in my family," she said. "Even though I've been surrounded by aviation my whole life, the main reason I decided to officially start my own flight lessons was to obtain the total freedom and convenience that flying offers."

She noted, for example, that a trip most people make by car in a weekend only takes a day in her Piper Comanche 260.

"From the moment of rotation when the wheels lift off the runway, I am in complete control of the aircraft and the liberating feeling I get from takeoff never goes away, even after thousands of takeoffs," said the St. Joseph Catholic School alum. 

Kuyoth is taking her "takeoff" and flying lessons at the Romeo State Airport in Ray Township, but her family’s plane is located at Oakland County International Airport in Waterford. 

"At Romeo, for my lessons I fly a Cessna 172 and I currently have more than 20 flight hours in that plane," she said. "I love everything about each lesson, even the 'boring' bookwork. One of the best things I’ve experienced so far is doing an in-flight stall and spin recovery. My instructor, Carl Harris, is amazing and encourages me to figure out difficult situations on my own. I have learned a lot from flying, including how to read weather reports, analyze engines and make quick decisions." 

Nicole Kuyoth, Alexis' mother, confirmed that her daughter has had the flying bug seemingly forever.

Kuyoth takes flying lessons in a Cessna 172 at Romeo State Airport in Ray Township.

"Alexis has always wanted to become a private pilot and has put in a lot of time and dedication in order to achieve that goal," Nicole said. "She's now achieved the goal of soloing at the age of 16 and will continue working on her full pilot’s license by the time she's 17. Alexis chose to apply for the scholarship since she’s so passionate about aviation and met all of the requirements. We couldn’t be prouder of Alexis and all her achievements."

While it's still relatively early in her current summer break from high school, Kuyoth nonetheless is looking forward to when her high-flying airplane classroom transitions to a more earth-bound Notre Dame Prep classroom. 

"I love Notre Dame and everything it has to offer," she said. "I love the greenhouse and the science classes. I love the athletic communities, especially the ski team, and I have been very welcomed into anything new that I've tried at NDP. I'm also on student council and I'm a peer leader because I definitely love being a voice for the school any way I can."

Mom agrees with her daughter's assessment of her high school.

"We’ve been blessed to send both of our daughters to Catholic school their entire lives," Nicole said. "We loved St. Joseph school and have come to love Notre Dame as well. Alexis has excelled academically and is a member of the National Honor Society. She gives everything she does 110 percent and sets goals she knows she can achieve."

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three schools are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the National Association of Independent Schools. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school’s home page at