SJO senior to take to the skies after graduation

Dakoda Jones wants to fly.

The St. Joseph-Ogden senior will attend Southern Illinois University in the fall to study Aviation Flight.

Jones’ first experience in aviation was a ride in a Cessna 172M. That experience started a love affair with flight.

In 2017 he flew a Piper Warrior PA-287-151 single engine plane with the help of a certified flight instructor.

Also in 2017, he flew a Cessna 172s and learned about aviation meteorology, aircraft maintenance, air traffic control, flight theory, mapping flight plans and modern aircraft. He logged his first five hours towards a private pilot license while participating in Aviation Flight Camp at Lewis University in Romeoville.

“All my life I have always been interested in flying, but it wasn’t until I earned my Boy Scout merit badge in Aviation when I realized that becoming a pilot was my dream career,” Jones said.

Jones said he tries to set high expectations of himself in everything he does. The college program he has decided to pursue usually takes five years because it is an advanced double major.

Jones hopes to complete it in four by taking summer classes.  

“Earning a dual major in Aviation Technologies will qualify me to maintain and repair various aircraft. It is important to me that I develop these skills as a backup in the case I unable to maintain my medical certification as a pilot,” Jones said. “I am very passionate about aviation and excited about the challenge that lies ahead of me. In the end, I know it will be a rewarding career.”

While at SJO Jones participated in Spanish Club, the Maroon Platoon, football and soccer while attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.

Jones said his experience playing sports at SJO taught him about team work and perseverance.

Football Coach Shawn Skinner said he knew Jones was a very hard worker in the weight room and really loves playing football.

“Then I had him in class,” Skinner said. “Such a great student and contributing factor to the classroom.”

Skinner said Jones is respectable and dependable and is committed to learning.

“He will look you in the eye and communicate openly and is someone to model other students with,” Skinner said. “He’s a great kid.”

Jones attained the rank of Eagle Scout at the age of 13. He earned 54 merit badges and several Eagle Palms.

Jones’ Eagle Scout project promoted patriotism by providing community the service of an honorary retirement of four national flag.

Jones organized flag collection booths at community events where he educated citizens on flag etiquette, the Star Spangled Banner, the American Creed, the Pledge of Allegiance and proper flag folding. More than 200 flags were collected and properly retired in accordance with the US Flag Code.

While in Boy Scouts Jones served as an Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader and a Chaplain Aide.

“Boy Scouts taught me the importance of a strong work ethic, but most of all it gave me the opportunity to learn many life skills that has helped me to mature into the person I am today,” Jones said.




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