What is the Ray Aviation Scholarship?

The Ray Aviation Scholarship Foundation is a scholarship program funded by the Ray Foundation and managed by the EAA. Through the Ray Foundation, they are funding $1,000,000 annually to give out individual $10,000 scholarships to youth to support their flight training expenses.

The Ray Foundation was founded by James C. and Joan L. Ray. James Ray enlisted in the Army shortly after December 7th, 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor. James was a command B-17 pilot involved in the D-Day invasion with the 8th Air Force. After his retirement from the Army, he served in the Air National Guard to continue serving his country and his career in aviation along with general aviation.

James Ray with the EAA Freedom Of Flight Award

In 1992, James was awarded EAA’s Freedom of Flight Award which is EAA’s highest honor. This award is given annually to an individual whose contributions to aviation closely mirror the integrity, entrepreneurship and innovativeness of EAA members. James also had a thoroughfare on the AirVenture grounds named in his honor. James Ray is very dedicated to to supporting the EAA and the youth. The most visible of his gifts is the new Air Academy Lodge. Since 1998, the lodge hosts hundreds of youth interested in aviation for different camps and programs to allow youth to discover more about aviation and flying. James is a believer in life skills, discipline, character and confidence throughout the flight training journey. To follow the mindset of James, the Ray foundation encourages the human potential through supporting programs that develop life skills such as self-discipline, self-confidence, and self-reliance as part of receiving the scholarship. The Foundation also focuses on the interest in aviation and the development of strategies and programs that lead to the involvement and education of young adults in aviation and aerospace.

James Ray breaking ground on EAA’s Air Academy Lodge with Tom Poberezny.

This scholarship is managed by the EAA and administered through the EAA Chapter network. In order for the chapter to be eligible for the scholarship, they must fill out an application which explains why the chapter should receive the scholarship and how active they are. Once the chapters are selected, it is up to the chapter to select a recipient for the Ray Aviation Scholarship. It is also up to the chapter to create a system for selecting an applicant. Once a recipient is selected, the recipient of the Ray Aviation Scholarship must meet with the committee regularly for progress checks and meeting as well as continuing to demonstrate involvement in the chapter and chapter events.

When our chapter was selected, Steve Socolosky, Rick Montero and Russ Beers formed a committee to nominate a recipient. They had two recipients in mind already. To select the recipient, each applicant had to write a 150 word paragraph explaining why they should be the recipient. Following the submission of the essay, each applicant had to attend an interview with the committee. After the interviews, the committee met to select a recipient for the chapter.

There were two applicants for the Ray aviation scholarship, Joe Cassineri and Daniel Royer. Both Joe and Daniel have strong interest in aviation and that aspiration to become commercial pilots. They have also flown with Steve Socolosky as Young Eagles, began flight lessons and are very involved in their local chapter 166. After deliberating with the Ray Aviation Scholarship committee for the chapter, Daniel Royer was selected as the recipient with Joe Cassineri as the alternate.

“Joe and Dan are two of several, exceptional student members in our chapter and we will support both of them in any way that we can to help them achieve their goal of becoming a pilot! We all have something to offer in support of Dan and Joe”, said Steve Socolosky.

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