High Flying Hope: How One Captain's Vacation is Changing the Future for Countless Others

When Capt. Courtney Schoch planned a 2013 vacation to Nicaragua, she was looking forward to relaxing with friends on the pristine beaches along the northwestern coast. She never imagined the wide-reaching impact her trip would have on her own life and the lives of others.

Schoch was so intrigued by her visit to the Central American country that she moved to the nation’s capital, Managua, one year later. As Schoch immersed herself in the culture, she grew accustomed to howler monkeys swinging into her open kitchen area and horse-drawn buggies traveling down nearby streets. But there was one thing Schoch couldn’t’ get comfortable with: the harsh reality of poverty facing much of Nicaragua’s population.

With a number of Nicaraguans employed in tourism jobs, Schoch began to realize how much more opportunity is available to those who can speak both Spanish and English. She wanted to empower workers with English language skills that would significantly increase their incomes. As a former flight instructor, Schoch began looking for ways to apply her teaching skills to helping area children with their English.

Today, Schoch has earned her official teaching certification and has even established her own charitable organization to help pay for supplies at the León academy, where she tries to spend at least one week per month teaching English (as her flight schedule allows). Schoch’s dedication doesn’t end there. With high hopes for the future, this Dash-8 pilot is just getting started. Read more here.