MORRIS COUNTY — Senate Republican Leader Anthony Bucco will be attending the Air Force’s “Born To Fly” event at Villa Walsh Academy all-girls school on Friday, September 22.
“I’m very excited to attend this event sponsored by the Sisters 1st, Villa Walsh Academy’s FIRST Robotics Team. This is a fantastic opportunity for seventh and eighth-grade students from around the Morristown area to learn about aviation and the United States Air Force,” said Bucco (R-25). “The six virtual reality aviation experiences will give students an opportunity to fly unique aircraft while using certified Air Force equipment. It is truly remarkable how far technology has advanced that opportunities like this can be provided to young students. This is a great way for women who have an interest in aviation to get a hands on experience with real flight simulators.”
The Villa Walsh Academy is hosting the event for their seventh and eighth-grade students, as well as students in neighboring schools. “Born To Fly” is an immersive virtual reality experience that will give students the opportunity to pilot virtual aircraft. Students will be able to fly a virtual F-35 fighter jet through a canyon using certified equipment as well as a KC-135 boom pod to refuel airborne planes like a B-2 Stealth Bomber.
Lee Anne Nugent is the Lead Coach of the Sisters 1st FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team which is the only all-female high school FRC team in New Jersey. She helped connect Villa Walsh with the Air Force to host this event after attending the Air Force FIRST Leadership Experience in Florida over the summer.
“Villa Walsh Academy and the Religious Teachers Filippini are centered on service for others and every year, our alumnae go onto U.S. Service Academies and ROTC programs, but usually with the Army and Navy,” said Nugent. “Until I attended the Air Force FIRST Leadership Experience, I too had little knowledge about the U.S. Air Force and Space Force, most especially the many special opportunities available for women. Sisters 1st FIRST Robotics Competition Team 8513, the only female high school FRC team in New Jersey, is so excited to bring the U.S. Air Force to Villa Walsh Academy to expose young women to new avenues of service and to experience ‘Born to Fly’.”
One of the FRC team members, Leah Costa ’25, said she and her younger sister are excited to learn about aviation from Air Force professionals.
“I am so excited for the Air Force to visit Villa. It will be such a fun experience to learn from professionals and to try the two virtual reality flight simulators,” said Costa. “My younger sister is even coming. This is a great opportunity for all students at Villa and girls from other middle schools to broaden our horizons.”