Thanks to a prestigious scholarship, a J. L. Crowe grad will be taking flight this summer.
Alex Farnsworth-Philogene, 18, was accepted into the international air cadet exchange association in Australia this summer and left for training on Sunday.
“He always loved planes and when he heard that the cadets could teach him how to fly, he signed up,” explained his mother, Laura Farnsworth. “He worked his way up—first as a glider pilot and then as a power pilot.”
Alex has been a Trail cadet and J. L. Crowe student for several years and was pleased about receiving one of 10 placements reserved for applicants across the country.
In order to apply, he had to demonstrate his involvement in the cadets, good grades and ability to follow orders. He also had to pass an intensive screening contest, but was chuffed when the acceptance letter finally came in the mail.
“I was relieved that I received any type of response because I didn’t know if they would send a letter to me either way,” he said. “But when I read it, I was really overjoyed.”
He will be traveling for two weeks in Sydney and Brisbane and spending time with the cadets in Montreal before he ages out of the program in August, when he expects to apply to become an officer with the cadets and continue flying on the weekends while pursuing a degree.
“If I wanted to do this and hadn’t participated in anything else, I probably wouldn’t have got it,” he said.
At the mere age of 12, Alex had completed basic training with the cadets, a series of leadership courses and an introduction to aviation. But it wasn’t long until he was flying as a glider and power pilot—he was only 16.
“Everybody has a hobby and flying is mine,” Alex explained. “This is my last year in the cadet program before I age out and an exchange seemed like a pretty cool thing to do.”
Alex is eager to meet “like-minded people,” see the sights and wrap up his last year in the cadets before entering a four-year engineering program at McGill.
He is looking forward to staying in an Australian barracks every night, visiting the Australia Zoo and touring the Telstra Tower.
“Because I’m going into engineering, I think it will be really cool to see the Telstra Tower on Black Mountain,” Alex said. “It’s like the Australian version of Bell or Rogers so I’m looking forward to seeing that.”
Alex had initially applied for an exchange program in England because his extended family used to live there and sent him gifts by post, which piqued his interest. But he was offered a placement in Australia. He wanted to get the travel-bug out of his system before settling into a degree program.
“I was still really happy,” he said. “You get three choices when you apply and I got my second so that’s still pretty good.”
Alex was accepted into an engineering program at McGill University this fall and will have roughly one week to settle into Montreal after his excursion to Australia.