Christopher Morales | Student Story

Christopher Morales | Student Story

Recognizing the importance of a college education, senior Christopher Morales set his mind on attending college despite any obstacles he faced. He worked hard, took classes during summer sessions and within two years, earned his flight tech associates degree and decided to transfer to Jessup’s aviation program. Morales was drawn to pursuing a Christian education. “As a pilot, you don’t know where you will be able to plant seeds as you travel all over the world,” he said. 

Continuing his strong work ethic, Morales persevered to achieve his goals. In addition to taking a full load of coursework, his weekend routine meant commuting at 5 a.m. to Sacramento to work 30 hours at Starbucks, his employer for the past five years. “I have a strict routine and know what it means to get up early, stay late or pick up an extra shift if they need me, and still make time to study,” he said. Morales also continued to earn excellent grades while achieving top honors on the dean’s list.

No stranger to hard work, Morales excelled in Jessup’s aviation program, earning his private pilot’s license in just 57 hours compared to 76, the national average. “I knew I wanted to be a pilot, even when I was 17, playing varsity baseball in high school,” he said. Morales compares the dedication he serves with now to what he remembered as a ball player. “In some respects, being in this program is akin to being an athlete. Athletes train everyday, I study everyday, and need to have good focus as well as organization and time management skills.” 

Challenged to be the first pilot in his family, Morales’ grandfather worked on the first Boeing 747 prototype, and his father worked for American Airlines as a flight attendant. As a young boy traveling with his dad, he was intrigued by the idea of landing in vastly different places within hours and having the opportunity to learn about various cultures and worldviews. 

While most would consider aviation academically rigorous, Morales rose to the challenge. “Maybe it’s because I love flying, but I really enjoyed all my coursework. Aviation law was strenuous, and learning aerodynamics had its challenges, but there is a lot of support and camaraderie among faculty and students in the program.” With his coursework under his belt, Morales currently spends much of his time completing required flight hours to obtain his commercial pilots license to meet the demands of a profession experiencing a severe shortage of trained pilots.

Morales acknowledges what his journey has taught him. “I have to remember where I come from,” he said. “Working hard to earn my education as a Hispanic male has taught me to be proud of my accomplishments and to never give up. No matter who you are, or where you are from, with hard work and faith, you can have success tenfold. I’m so thankful for all the support I’ve been given.”

When asked to describe his reaction the first time he piloted a plane, Morales said, “There is no greater feeling than being the pilot in command. Realizing you are responsible for the aircraft, doing maneuvers, in charge of power or the bank angle, it can become overwhelming when you realize you have the ability to do this so you have to stay in control. It just goes to show you what hard work can do and overall – to know that if you have a dream, you can make it happen.”