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Hannah's Story

From my first flight in a Piper J3 Cub to having the opportunity to experience Oshkosh, becoming a pilot has been a dream of mine for several years. Because of the huge financial barrier to become a pilot, I have had to be patient in pursuing this goal. I am now so incredibly grateful to share that I have finally earned my Private Pilot Certificate, which was only made possible by the Colonel James L. Graham Jr Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship has been a true blessing to my family and me.

Ann Graham and Hannah


There were several unexpected hardships in my flight training, which have tested my courage and have required persistence and perseverance to overcome. I look back on my journey grateful for all the struggles and the victories because from it came experience, which is one of the greatest teachers. A deep curiosity and love for learning combined with an enthusiastic attitude is key to embracing the challenge of flight training. I have learned that a dedication to excellence combined with discipline and tenacity are what enable a person to make adversity and hard work an enjoyable challenge. From my instructor I have learned that a good pilot is one who is devoted to building their “stick and rudder” skills while also having a respect for all that flying entails. They are committed to precision and carry themselves with humility and integrity.

Earning my Private Pilot Certificate has only deepened my curiosity and passion for aviation, and I am so excited to learn and experience even more. I am hoping that my journey in aviation will serve as a testament to younger generations and my peers of the value of patience, resilience, and hard work. I am incredibly grateful to have received this scholarship in honor of Colonel James Graham, and I will always give an abounding effort to live up to its namesake. Throughout this journey, this scholarship has served as a reminder to me of my passion for aviation and the inspiration that Colonel James Graham has given.

From my first solo to finally receiving my certificate, Mrs. Graham has been supporting me and cheering me on every step of the way. Through each hardship she has been a source of prayer and encouragement. Ann Graham means so much to my family and I, and I am so grateful for the impact she has had on us. I look forward to keeping in touch with her and the scholarship committee as I further my flight training at Liberty University and hope that future recipients of this scholarship have a meaningful experience while realizing their dream as well.

Thank you Colonel and Mrs. Graham… I’m a pilot!!!

Hannah D.

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Flying the Cessna

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