LITITZ, Pa. — Eastern Mennonite University's satellite campus held its graduation ceremony in Lancaster County on Friday night and were treated to a surprise helicopter landing.
The school's first aviation students made a grand appearance to celebrate the evening.
"We almost mentioned it as joke, like, how cool would it be to get flown into commencement?," said Ivy Kreiser. "And then we mentioned that, and everyone was like, ‘yeah! Let’s make that happen!’”
Noelle Yorgey, Cienna Stover, and Kreiser made their grand flight from Lancaster County Airport in Lititz.
The trio spent many hours at the airport's Aero-Tech Services building, where they shared fond memories while training to become pilots.
"My instructor, for some reason, was like, ‘hey, I’m going to take controls for a few minutes.’ And I got a chance to just look out the window," reflected Kreiser. "Obviously, you look outside a lot when flying, but I felt like I had the first chance to really just look and pay attention to the fact that I’m on an airplane!”
Stover went from learning how to fly, to teaching other students how to fly. Yet, she still has moments reflection about her position as a pilot.
"I have moments all the time where I’m like, ‘Wow! How am I up here teaching people, but also get to do this for a living?'" exclaimed Stover.
Eastern Mennonite University's Director of Aviation, John Sibole, says these three women are graduating at an opportune time. A study by Boeing indicates that 612,000 pilots will be needed over the next 20 years.
"It’s probably the best time with opportunities for pilots, without exaggerating, in the history of aviation," said Sibole.
The three graduates flew from the Lancaster County Airport to Manheim for the commencement ceremony.