Elk Grove senior’s career plans take flight through District 214 programs and internships


Radek Lucarz participated in two engineering internships through High School District 214 before taking classes in the District’s Aviation Academy.

Today, he has a clear idea of his next steps thanks to these opportunities: to pursue a career in aerospace engineering.

Radek, a senior at Elk Grove High School, says at an early age his uncle encouraged him to consider a career in engineering. Through his high school engineering courses, teachers and internships, he realized engineering was the perfect fit for him.

Both of his internships, which were with Pepper Construction, taught him the soft skills needed to thrive in the workplace, such as how to interact with supervisors and what is expected on work sites.

“I am grateful to Elk Grove. They’ve done so much for me,” he says. “If I went to a different school (outside of District 214), I might not be going down the path of aerospace engineering.”

As a student in the Aviation Academy, Radek is gaining a better understanding of the demands and skills needed in the industry.

The Aviation Academy, in partnership with Lewis University, was created to start building a pipeline of aviation talent to fill positions in the aviation industry. District 214 students take college-level aviation classes during the day at the Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling.

They also can earn college credit for the classes and an FAA-level certification – all while in high school.

Radek has taken three classes through the Aviation Academy – College Introduction to Aviation, College Aviation Fundamentals and College Aviation Physics – all of which have solidified his decision to go into aerospace engineering.

He is currently mulling over his acceptances for college, including Lewis University. He will also be able to start college ahead of his peers – in addition to his college credit courses from Lewis, Radek has college credit English and math classes through Eastern Illinois University.