“Are you focused on what you don’t have… or what you do have?”
Huntley Lawrence posed this question last month during his commencement address to more than 200 graduates at Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in Queens, New York. He was addressing the specific issues that this class of 2021 has faced over the past year – the impact of hate, racism, and pandemic lockdowns.
Lawrence continued, “What if I told you that no matter where you were born, where you started, where you came from, or how much money you have, you could forge your own path. A new path. A better path.”
Lawrence knows this truth first hand. Raised only a stone’s throw from New York’s famed LaGuardia Airport in Queens, he was fascinated with flying and planes. At an early age, he set his sights on being a pilot. In high school, he attended the aviation program at PS127 near his home where he learned firsthand about flight at LGA and JFK. Even before he graduated, Lawrence passed his written pilot’s test.
But when his plans to fly planes for a major airline were dashed due to a vision issue, Lawrence didn’t blink. He kept his focus and soon became fascinated with the larger field of aviation, which encompasses nearly all aspects of air travel and the activities that help to facilitate it.