Beginning on Sunday, July 16, Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc., (Ashley) sponsored 23 students of Ashley employees, ranging from grades 7-12, to attend the National Flight Academy Program. Set aboard the world’s largest, simulated aircraft carrier, this program is one of the most exciting and immersive learning adventures in the world. The week-long event is geared to inspire interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. Participants stay in a multi-story facility, adjacent to the National Aviation Museum, where they experience theme-park style thrills surrounded by advanced technology, flight simulators, and virtual reality games that ignite imagination and encourage learning.
While living aboard “Ambition,” the students were immersed in life as a Naval Aviator aboard a modern aircraft carrier. Students were assigned missions to test their mental agility, preparedness, and communication skills, while demonstrating the importance of teamwork and goal completion. They also had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch the famous Blue Angels practice barrel rolls and aerobatic formations with an unobstructed, front row view of the show!
Following an action-packed week, Lieutenant General Duane Thiessen, USMC (retired), president and CEO of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation, hosted a graduation ceremony to celebrate the students’ major accomplishments. Florida House Representative/Pensacola Chamber of Commerce President, Clay Ingram, was the guest speaker.
“The National Flight Academy Ambition Program is an outstanding opportunity for students with interest in STEM related fields,” said Ron Wanek, founder and chairman, Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. “This program provides a hands-on experience that exposes these students to a multitude of career paths that will support our future workforce.”
Ashley and the Wanek family have made several contributions in the area of education, particularly in support of STEM programs. Additionally, the Wanek family has also provided millions of dollars in funds and in-kind services to assist local schools and universities, and more than 2,000 scholarships during the past 10 years to help offset the escalating costs of higher education. Each year, Ashley awards over 100 scholarships to children of Ashley Furniture employees. Ashley plans to send 50 students on the 2018 mission.
Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc., (Ashley) feels that every person deserves more value for their money. Established in 1945, Ashley is one of the largest manufacturers of home furnishings in the world. From design through fulfillment, Ashley is committed to delivering the world’s best home furnishing values, selection and service, and earning the loyalty and trust of its customers every day. Visit Ashley online at www.ashleyfurniture.com.