(April 3, 2017 Lakeland, FL) As the SUN ‘n FUN International Fly- In & Expo presented by VISIT FLORIDA and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association approaches, SUN ‘n FUN is proud to announce the Blue Angels selection for the 2017 Key Influencer rides, Mike Zidziunas and John Iskra.
The Blue Angels define key influencers as “people who help to shape attitudes and opinions of youth in their communities. People turn to Key Influencers for advice and information because they have credibility. They may be experts in their field, public figures, leaders of youth organizations, teachers, guidance counselors, or school administrators. They are not always the person at the top of an organization, but have a strong impact on recruiting age youth and/or a specific target audience. Good examples of local community Key Influencers include: university presidents, area organizers of youth athletics, society award winners, school board members, high school principals, coaches, and leaders of diversity groups. Flying these deserving candidates, in cooperation with media presence, will promote the Navy and Marine Corps as professional and exciting organizations with which to serve. Elected officials, freelance reporters and photographers are NOT eligible.”
Mike Zidziunas, also known as Mike Z., Mike became heavily involved with the youth aviation program at SUN ‘n FUN and the Central Florida Aerospace Academy, an aviation themed public high school located on the SUN ‘n FUN campus. The newly formed Lakeland Aero Club, the high school flying club at SUN ‘n FUN, had received a donation of a Piper Cub restoration project that needed some direction and supervision. Mike volunteered to assist the high school students with the project, and the airplane got its first U.S. Airworthiness Certificate on April 1, 2015. Mike led a group of 10 teenaged pilots on a cross country trip to Oshkosh flying 5 vintage airplanes including the newly restored Cub. Due to the rapid growth of the Lakeland Aero Club Mike’s volunteer position became a full-time job and Mike was hired to be its director and mentor in September 2014.
John Iskra, Former Director of Education at SUN ‘n FUN and current STEM Instructor at NuVu Innovation Studies Program at All Saints’ Academy of Lakeland, FL. Iskra is from an aviation family – his dad was an A&P working mostly on Bell model 47 helicopters in Florida agri-business. Iskra is a true treasure of SUN ‘n FUN the aerospace community. He is a gifted instructor and has a unique ability to bring STEM content to children in a way that is fun, exciting and engaging. He has personally introduced the wonder of aviation to thousands of young people, and his innovation and expertise at connecting his content to interesting methods of instructing is unmatched. He managed the outreach program from SUN ‘n FUN’s Aerospace Center for Excellence, and started the current Classroom to the Sky program that “teaches the teachers” to utilize aviation examples and terminology to teach STEM-based curriculum, thus creatively introducing aviation to traditionally non-aviation students.
The Blue Angels Key Influencer Rides will be on Wednesday, April 5th in Blue Angel #7. The rest of the Blue Angel Team will land on the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus on Thursday, April 6th at 9:30 AM.
Attendees are encouraged to use hashtags #SnF17 and #LoveFL on social media while posting about the Fly-In.
Air show and workshop schedules, camping reservations, registration for activities, and ticketing information can be found on the SUN ‘n FUN website at flysnf.org. Keep up with all the fun on facebook.com/sunnfunflyin and twitter.com/sunnfunflyin.
SUN ‘n FUN is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, located on the grounds of the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, FL. Proceeds from all year-round events are returned to aviation-based STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs, activities and facilities, and used to support on-going scholarship funding.