Newcastle teen hailed as ‘future of flight’

August 29, 2014

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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Jordan Fletcher

Jordan Fletcher

In the June 2014 issue of Alaska Airlines magazine, the company’s vice president of human resources wrote that she has seen the future of flight, and it is indeed very bright.

Tammy Young was talking specifically about 14-year-old Jordan Fletcher, a smart, deep-thinking Newcastle teenager with his eyes perpetually toward the skies.

Jordan already has his future aviation career planned out, and he hasn’t even entered high school. It begins with a specialized education at the prestigious Raisbeck Aviation High School, followed by a stint in the Air Force Academy.

Graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he will get his master’s in aeronautical engineering, comes next. He’ll do his time in the service before gaining experience with a technology startup, and then a company such as The Boeing Co. or Alaska Airlines.

All of that leads to Jordan’s ultimate goal of starting his own company.

“So far as we know it, the ocean has a bottom, but look into the sky, and it just keeps going up and up and up,” he said. “The possibilities are endless in aeronautics.”

Pilots and aerospace professionals seem to flock toward her son, Beverly Fletcher said. Jordan counts several of them among his network of friends.

He has spent quality time with Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden. The executive even took Jordan flying in his personal Cessna aircraft.

Her son’s interest in aviation isn’t surprising, Beverly said. Jordan has wanted to reach for the stars since he was born.

“Some people come pre-programmed in this life to know what they want to do,” she said. “Even when he was little, he was pointing up to the sky.”

Jordan graduated from McKnight Middle School in June, but he won’t be joining his classmates at Hazen High School in the fall. He’ll attend Raisbeck in Tukwila.

The aerospace-themed school, right next to the Museum of Flight, is known for its excellence in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.

Raisbeck Aviation High School has 400 students, with just 100 in each class. The school has a growing national reputation, and its students get accepted to some of the best colleges in the country. Naturally, that comes with an admission process rivaling that of a university.

Jordan had to write an essay, collect letters of recommendation and sit for an interview. Beverly had to write an essay, too, chronicling why her son would fit in at the school.

He applied and got in to both John F. Kennedy Catholic High School and O’Dea High School long before he heard about his acceptance to Raisbeck.

When a big envelope, rather than a small one often denoting a rejection, arrived from the school at his Lake Washington Ridge home, the normally stoic Jordan burst into smiles, Beverly said.

“We realize that one, it’s a huge honor, but it’s also a huge opportunity,” Beverly said of the acceptance.

Jordan’s not a huge fan of summer; he prefers to keep busy and learning, he said. He attended a robotics camp in mid-July and participates in the Civil Air Patrol, a U.S. Air Force auxiliary program for teens interested in aviation.

He’s currently working on his black belt in taekwondo, and enjoys reading in his spare time. During the summer and holidays, locals can find Jordan volunteering at the Newcastle Fruit & Produce stand.

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