The James C. Ray Scholarship Fund
The Central Florida Aerospace Academy Foundation, Inc. (CFAAF) is very proud to administer the James C. Ray Scholarship Fund.
James Ray was born in 1923 in San Francisco, California. Mr. Ray graduated from high school at the age of 17 and found his first employment as a steelworker, helping to construct several of San Francisco’s more prominent skyscrapers. On December 7, 1941, at the age of 18, James witnessed firsthand the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor. He had travelled to Hawaii to work on a construction project for the Navy that was situated just a few hundred yards from the USS Arizona battleship as the attack unfolded.
Shortly thereafter, James enlisted in the US Army Air Corps and served as a B-17 command pilot in the 8th Air Force, 447th Bomb Group, which was stationed at Rattlesden, England. He flew a total of 30 missions, including raids on the Schweinfurt ball-bearing plants in Germany. He was also lead pilot on a D-Day attack on German headquarters in Normandy, France.
After the war, James flew his Cessna 170B on business trips and personal trips to 58 countries and to every Caribbean island with a landing strip. He has also flown extensively in North America as a rancher, oil and gas explorer and real estate developer, logging more than 3,500 hours in single-pilot Citations over a 29 year period.
Mr. Ray believes the disciplines he obtained during flight training truly helped him become the successful individual he is today. With the hope that other young people might benefit from this same type of activity and the positive, life-changing opportunities it presents, the James C. Ray Scholarship Fund was established to make financial support for flight training available to Polk County public and private high school students and equivalent home schooled students residing in Polk County. The self-discipline required – and self-confidence developed – during the flight training experience will help mold a stronger, more successful individual.
In addition, a limited number of College Tuition Assistance scholarships for students attending higher education institutions in Polk County, and enrolled in aerospace related fields of study will be available to graduates of the Central Florida Aerospace Academy.
Applicants seeking grants from the Scholarship Fund will be evaluated on many factors, including, (but not limited to) GPA, community service history, extracurricular activities and personal recommendations from teachers and employers, and a personal interview during the application process. Eligible students must be a Polk County Public or Private High School Student or equivalent home schooled student residing in Polk County. A key element of the application is a short, thoughtful essay about the applicant, his/her career aspirations and the reason(s) for pursuing flight training. Detailed criteria can be found on the application form available on this web page.
Thank you for considering The James C. Ray Scholarship Program. Please feel free to submit an application. Good luck!