The West Michigan Academy was established by Dick DeVos in 2010. The tuition-free public charter high school is situated at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Dick DeVos created the school after his wife Betsy encouraged him to combine his two passions of education and flying. The school enrolled its first group of students in 2010.
As much as it focuses on aviation, the school offers more. Students that have an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math are offered an opportunity to nature their passions. The school is a place where critical character values such as respect, trust, as well as accountability are strongly advocated. It prepares students to accomplish their own career and life objectives.
Presently, the school enrolls over 400 students. It has witnessed tremendous growth in terms of infrastructure and student enrollment. In 2010, 80 freshmen were enrolled into a 25,000 sq ft office that acted as the school building. At the start of the 2012-2013 school year, the school had a 42,500 sq. ft building that accommodated 240 students. The new building led to the expansion in space, student life, curriculum, and aviation programs.
In early 2014, the school entered into an agreement with Northwestern Michigan College. The agreement allows graduates from the West Michigan Aviation College to receive eight credits once they enroll at the college. The credits would authenticate a successful completion of the curriculum. It is comparable to NMC’s private pilot ground school as well as aviation maintenance courses.
About Dick DeVos
Dick DeVos is a billionaire and renowned businessman. He is the former president of Amway Corp. as well as its parent company Alticor Inc. Dick DeVos began working at Amway Corporation in 1974. Ten years later, he became the vice president of the company heading its operations in 19 countries. In 1989, he established the Windquest Group, a private investment firm. He was elected for an eight-year term to the Michigan State Board of Education. However, he stepped down after two years to manage the family business. Dick DeVos served as the president of Alticor Inc. for ten years before retiring. Currently, his focus is on the privatization of public education and the promotion of the religious right agenda.