New Castle County Vo-Tech moves to terminate its aviation tech … – The News Journal

The only aviation technology program in a Delaware high school is set to dissolve.
New Castle County Vo-Tech School District moved last month to terminate its Aviation Technology career program at Delcastle Technical High School, effective after this school year. The program saw students learn to inspect, repair and service aircrafts — following the Federal Aviation Administration requirements for an aviation mechanic license.
Now, the option is grounded.
“This decision was not made lightly, and we understand the disappointment and concerns this may raise among our students and their families,” wrote Principal Justin Comegys in a letter to parents and guardians on Sept. 29, shared with Delaware Online/The News Journal. “We want to assure you that this decision was reached after careful consideration and extensive deliberation.”
Only seniors will be able to finish in aviation. Others who chose this career program, one of some 39 vocational pathways across the district, will have to disseminate to other shops. At Delcastle, that could mean auto body, auto technology, engine technology and much more, with transition support from school counselors.
The district confirmed the decision Tuesday morning. A spokesperson said adding or removing any program is a “very deliberate process,” generally speaking — following anything from economic needs, job opportunities, student interest and staffing.
In following emails, some parents were told the decision followed evaluations in school metrics, such as: lack of funding, lack of career advisory participation, lack of career certifications being offered, alongside low interest, as trend data indicated the aviation program was not often students’ first choice.
One student said they enthusiastically picked aviation. But today, the “abrupt termination” feels like time and passion disregarded.
“I am deeply saddened and concerned to learn that Delcastle and the NCCVT school district have decided to terminate this program,” Kaiden Brown wrote in an open letter, kicking off a petition to bring back the program. As of Tuesday morning, it had more than 1,000 signatures.
“The hands-on experience, industry-relevant curriculum, and my dedicated instructor have provided me with invaluable skills and knowledge,” they said. “However, now I find myself facing an uncertain future as Delcastle expects us juniors and sophomores to transfer to another career area.”
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Principal Comegys apologized to his school community for the disruption to studies, adding his school is “dedicated to ensuring a smooth transition for all affected students.” An informational session for students and families is expected at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10, at the school.
The district just broke ground on the new Hodgson Vocational Technical High School in late September. Earlier that month, Delcastle Technical unveiled first student-led electric vehicle charging stations in Delaware. Citing jobs available in maintenance and tech, Brown remains hopeful funding or partnerships might be secured for aviation, allowing fellow students to keep the shop they chose.
“I urge you to sign this petition,” the junior said. “Join me in demanding that Delcastle High School and the NCCVT district reconsider their decision to terminate the aviation maintenance technology program.”
Got a story? Kelly Powers covers race, culture and equity for Delaware Online and USA TODAY Network Northeast, with a focus on education. Contact her at or (231) 622-2191, and follow her on Twitter @kpowers01.


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