It’s been quite a school year for Blue Springs South High School Junior ROTC Lt. Col. A Squadron Hayden Kolster.

Last November the junior was a member of the school’s Junior ROTC Raiders that finished second at the All-Service Raider Nationals in Molena, Georgia. They were the top national Air Force unit and brought back enough hardware from the national event to take over a downstairs classroom.

Earlier this month, he received word that he was one of 150 Junior ROTC cadets to win the USAF Chief of Staff Private Pilot Scholarship. He will spend the summer flying, studying aviation and will receive his private pilot license. The scholarship was created to come up with innovative ways to address the armed service’s shortage of flight crews.

“More than 800 cadets apply for the scholarship and 150 earn the chance to work toward their pilot license,” said South’s retired Col. Stan Cole. “It pays for seven to eight weeks of private pilot training and is worth about $120,000.

“There are days that are really special, and the day I got to tell Hayden he won that scholarship was very special – special for both of us.”

Kolster said the scholarship is a dream come true.

“I get to spend my summer learning how to fly – and it’s all paid for – that is a dream come true,” Kolster said. “I hope to one day join the Air Force and become a pilot and this scholarship could really help make that dream come true, too.

“It’s all so amazing. I can’t even tell you what Col. Cole and my ROTC brothers mean to me. I’m going to get to spread my wings this summer and learn to fly! I can’t wait.”